Horn hasn’t pledged to back Pelosi

The Oklahoman - - FRONT PAGE - BY JUSTIN WINGERTER Staff Writer jwingerter@oklahoman.com

U.S. Rep.-elect Kendra Horn, the Ok­la­homa City Demo­crat whose sur­prise vic­tory this week gar­nered na­tional at­ten­tion, said Fri­day that she has not com­mit­ted to vot­ing for Nancy Pelosi for speaker of the House.

“I don’t know who all’s thrown their hat in the ring so I can’t say who I’m go­ing to vote for but I do think the Demo­cratic Party and Demo­cratic lead­er­ship, they need new lead­ers to step in and fresh blood,” Horn said.

“That was a clear mes­sage with this in­com­ing class.”

Pelosi, a Cal­i­for­nia Demo­crat who was speaker from 2007 to 2011, is seek­ing the of­fice again. She is 78 years old and a con­tentious fig­ure in Amer­i­can pol­i­tics, lead­ing some Demo­cratic rep­re­sen­ta­tives and in­com­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tives to op­pose a sec­ond speak­er­ship.

Pelosi con­grat­u­lated Horn on Twit­ter late Tues­day and said she looks for­ward to work­ing with the new con­gress­woman. Horn said Fri­day that she has not com­mit­ted to sup­port­ing Pelosi and is “ab­so­lutely” in­ter­ested in a new face for speaker.

“Like I said, I’m just learn­ing who

all’s run­ning so I can’t tell you who I’m sup­port­ing. But I do think it’s very im­por­tant with the changes in cities like Ok­la­homa (City) and places like this, we’ve got to have lead­er­ship that un­der­stands Ok­la­homans,” Horn said.

“I think we’ve been such a red state for so long that we haven’t been in the con­ver­sa­tion and peo­ple who are mod­er­ate or agree on some is­sues, dis­agree on oth­ers, haven’t re­ally had as much of a voice at the ta­ble.”

Horn will likely vote twice on the next speaker. First, there will be a closed-door vote among Democrats later this month or in early De­cem­ber. Then, af­ter Con­gress con­venes in Jan­uary and Horn is sworn in, there will be a pub­lic vote by the full House.

A Demo­cratic House, re­gard­less of the speaker, is cer­tain to be a thorn in the side of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump but Horn, a mod­er­ate Demo­crat in a district that has been in Repub­li­can con­trol for 44 years, says an ad­ver­sar­ial ap­proach will not be her style.

“You have a Demo­cratic House, a Repub­li­can Se­nate and a Repub­li­can pres­i­dent. That can en­cour­age — if we choose to, and that’s my in­ten­tion go­ing up there — that can en­cour­age com­pro­mise and, I think, bet­ter out­comes in the long run,” she said.

Horn spoke to re­porters for The Oklahoman on Fri­day, three days af­ter de­feat­ing U.S. Rep. Steve Rus­sell, a Choctaw Repub­li­can, by 3,288 votes in one of the 2018 midterms’ big­gest up­sets. She partly cred­ited the en­thu­si­asm of young cam­paign vol­un­teers with her vic­tory.

“We re­ally changed the way that cam­paigns work in Ok­la­homa,” she said.

“We hadn’t had cam­paigns with a lot of en­gage­ment, a lot of young peo­ple, and we re­built that in­ten­tion­ally be­cause we wanted all of those voices at the ta­ble.”

The con­gress­wom­an­elect made health care and ed­u­ca­tion the core top­ics of the race be­tween her and Rus­sell and gen­er­ally avoided talk­ing about ever-chang­ing news cy­cles in Wash­ing­ton that re­volve around Trump. Horn said she was rarely asked about the pres­i­dent on the cam­paign trail and there­fore rarely men­tioned him.

“Health care and ed­u­ca­tion weren’t just two things we de­cided to tell peo­ple we wanted to talk about,” she said. “It was over and over and over again what peo­ple came to us about.”

[PHOTO BY DOUG HOKE, THE OKLAHOMAN]

U.S. Rep-elect Kendra Horn talks Fri­day at the of­fice of The Oklahoman.

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