Longtime legislator Tom Coburn recently announced his intention to retire after the upcoming midterm elections without finishing his current term in the U.S. Senate. Coburn has gained a reputation as a reliable conservative dedicated to fighting government waste in Washington, D.C.
Though he recently announced he was once again battling cancer, Coburn denied his health issues prompted his decision to step down.
“After much prayer and consideration,” he wrote last week in a statement on his website, “I have decided that I will leave my Senate seat at the end of this Congress.”
Coburn, who has already served eight years in the Senate after three terms in the U.S. House, indicated now is just the right time for him to leave Congress. He said the choice was not based on “my health, my prognosis or even my hopes and desires,” explaining he is merely trying to reflect the vision of America’s founders.
“Our founders saw public service and politics as a calling rather than a career,” he explained. “That’s how I saw it when I first ran for office in 1994, and that’s how I still see it today.”
As he returns to private life, Coburn confirmed he will does not want to be treated any differently than any other Oklahoman.
“I believe it’s important to live under the laws I helped write,” he said, “and even those I fought hard to block.”
Coburn will leave a big void in the Senate, which voters in Oklahoma will likely try to fill in an upcoming special election. Conservatives across the nation are hoping his successor will continue his fight against government overreach and corruption.
Right now, however, Americans of all political stripes are sending their thoughts and prayers to the Coburn family during this difficult time.
Partisan bickering will doubtlessly heat up as November approaches; but for now, the outgoing senator’s contribution to conservatism – and American politics – remains the focus of most Americans.
A man who voluntarily gave up his seat in the House after reaching his self-imposed term limit, Coburn went on to serve his state and country in the Senate. Throughout his time as a legislator, he stood proudly and unapologetically in support of fiscal responsibility even as such positions increasingly fell out of favor in D.C.
–B. Christopher Agee
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