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Oklahoma lawmakers' phone lines far less busy on second day of shutdown

Rep. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, says call volume dropped considerably on Wednesday, while Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Westville, said it was “extremely quiet.”
by Chris Casteel Modified: October 2, 2013 at 9:42 pm •  Published: October 3, 2013

— If Oklahomans had strong opinions Wednesday, the second day of the government shutdown, they didn't feel compelled to call their lawmakers about them.

“Eerily enough, it's extremely quiet,” said Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Westville.

Many of the ones that have called, he said, “are saying ‘Stay strong, we're praying for you.'”

“There's people that say open it up and there's people that say keep it down, but overall it's quiet.”

Rep. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, who has taken some of the calls, said Wednesday that the number was down considerably from Tuesday. His theory, he said, was that activists and outside groups that help coordinate calls were waiting for the next big development.

According to The Washington Post, the Oklahoma City metro area ranks 12th in the nation for the percentage of the workforce made up of federal employees; the area has 40,000 military and civilian workers out of a 610,000-person workforce — nearly 7 percent.

Tinker Air Force Base and the Federal Aviation Administration's aeronautical center are the biggest, but other federal agencies have field offices in the area as well.

Lankford's district includes the FAA center and many field offices, while Tinker is in the district of Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore.

Cole's office on Wednesday received calls from “both sides of the spectrum,” though there has been an uptick in the last two days of callers who want the government to reopen.

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by Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where...
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