In her first year of a two-year Congressional term, U.S. Rep. Kendra Horn is making a concerted effort to be available to common constituents in her district and especially so in the center of Oklahoma City, the core of Congressional District 5.
At the open house for Congressional district offices recently relocated to 400 N. Walker downtown, some looked wide-eyed saying they had never been in their Congressional district office before.
Jennifer Green found a parking space nearby in spite of the growing crowd parking downtown for the Arts Festival being held only a block away in while others took a city bus to the EMBARK hub just a block away in the other direction.
“Well, I’ve never actually visited the office of one of my congressional representatives and I thought I would like to,” Green told Free Press. “I feel like it’s important to kind of break the veil between the people and your representatives and they obviously felt like this was a good way to learn about the issues in our district.”
Green has been living in Oklahoma City for only a year after moving in from Norman.
The open house was part of a push by Horn to make good on promises to spend much more time in her district than in Washington, a sharp contrast to the often elusive Republican incumbent she defeated, Steve Russell.
Southside native and business diversity consultant Cinthya Allen took time to visit the offices out of curiosity and fondness for Horn for whom she voted in November.
“I really felt comfortable with her approach and really supported what she did and how she just really brought everyone along,” said Allen. “I just wanted to continue supporting her through this.”
When asked if she thinks Horn is doing a good job of listening, she said, “I think she is, and you know, with my focus of diversity and inclusion, her approach was really valuable to me because, bridging those community lines together and making everyone feel like they have a seat at the table, being represented through her, was very important and valuable.”
The newly-decorated offices became more crowded as the evening progressed, revealing the unique and non-uniform make-up of the urban core and CD-5.
Kuaybe Basturk and Horn gave each other a long hug when Basturk first arrived. Basturk said that working with the Turkish community in Oklahoma City she found Horn to be concerned about the welfare of Oklahoma City’s minority communities and often reached out.
She said there were 11-13 different religious groups represented at an event where they prayed for Horn soon after her election.
“She is open to everybody,” said Basturk. “She is respecting everybody. She is trying to support everybody, especially the ones who does not have the chance or the voice. So this is why I’m here. I feel like she is standing for me too.”
Democratic Party faithful were there, too. Justin Sprouse, who identified himself as a “die-hard Democrat” said he thinks Horn is doing “a wonderful job, especially holding town halls.”
He recalled a town hall on the northwest side just 14 days after her swearing in where the whole fellowship hall of First Church of the Nazarene.
We were there and saw a mix of people, some of whom were excited, others looked worried, a few even wearing the distinctive red “MAGA” hats often seen in abundance at President Trump’s rallies.
There was little for the crowd to dislike or object to. Horn was calm, respectful of all comments and questions.
Even those with the MAGA hats who had looked stern and ready to do battle were nodding their heads in approval when Horn talked about her efforts to provide safe mold-free housing for service families at Tinker who have suffered for years in substandard base housing rendered unlivable by mold.
Horn continued to make contact in the core of Oklahoma City at another town hall on a Saturday afternoon, April 27 at Fifth Street Baptist Church, 801 NE 5th St. in one of the oldest historically black neighborhoods in Oklahoma City.
To the crowd of about 30 she talked at length about many of the issues that confront the newly-seated Congress now dominated by Democrats.
She received a wide spectrum of questions, one of which was if impeachment of President Donald Trump might happen.
To that, she said Congress has Constitutional responsibilities “to provide that check and balance to, provide oversight and accountability” over the executive branch.
But, she did not take a stand on whether or not Trump should be impeached because of the aggressive legislative goals the party has now that they are in power in the House.
“We also have to continue to govern,” said Horn. “Because if we’re giving up the work, the time to not continue to govern, to make sure that we’re getting our other work done, we’re also missing out.”