Sen. Tom Coburn kicked off his farewell tour Monday in Oklahoma City before an enthusiastic — and at times rowdy — crowd, thanking audience members for their interest in public policy.
“First of all, thank you for being here — it makes you feel good when people are interested in what’s happening,” Coburn said. “It gives you a good feeling, that you’re not just working for a few people — you’re working for a whole lot.”
The crowd of about 170 people at Oklahoma City Community College asked a range of questions and were responsive to Coburn’s answers. Many applauded. A handful yelled at him, and a few attempted debate.
The event was the first in a series of town hall meetings that Coburn, who has represented Oklahoma in the U.S. Senate for nearly 10 years, has planned over the next two weeks across the state.
Coburn plans to resign from the U.S. Senate at the end of the current Congress.
At Monday night’s town hall meeting, Coburn said after leaving Congress, he hopes to plan a constitutional convention, traveling to state lawmakers across the U.S., and also will try to set up a nonprofit organization that will focus on transparency in government spending.
“You say you’re going to set up a nonprofit?” one audience member asked. “How are you going to get that through the IRS?”
After laughter died down, Coburn continued to answer several audience members’ questions.
Among the topics he discussed, Coburn was critical of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, calling Reid the “czar of the Senate” and arguing that a change of leadership is needed for Congress to move forward.
“The majority leader doesn’t want to put things on the floor that have amendments that might be a voice of somebody different than his philosophy,” Coburn said.
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