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Oklahoma Senators Lankford, Inhofe Sworn In, House Delegation Splits Speaker Vote

Vice President Joe Biden administers the oath of office to U.S. Sen. James Lankford during the ceremonial swearing in January 6.
U.S. Sen. James Lankford
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Vice President Joe Biden administers the oath of office to U.S. Sen. James Lankford during the ceremonial swearing in Tuesday.

Republican James Lankford has joined Oklahoma's senior senator as a member of the U.S. Senate.

Lankford, a former member of Congress from Oklahoma's 5th District, was sworn in Tuesday as the 18th senator from Oklahoma, taking the seat formerly held by Republican Tom Coburn, who retired.

"We have a lot of work ahead to get our nation headed in the right direction," Lankford said in a statement. Our federal debt continues to burden our economy and our children’s future. Our budgeting process is broken; our standing in the world is diminished; and Obamacare continues to harm our communities. Our nation faces many problems that demand the immediate attention of Congress."

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Tex.) says Lankford will serve on the Republican Whip Team for the 114th Congress. The former youth pastor from Edmond announced previously he would serve on four Senate committees -  the Committee on Appropriations, the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, the Select Committee on Intelligence, and the Committee on Indian Affairs.

Meanwhile, Jim Inhofe was sworn in to his fourth full term. Inhofe will be serving on the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in the 114th Congress.

Former state Sen. Steve Russell is the only new member of Congress from Oklahoma. Russell will join Oklahoma's all-Republican congressional delegation after being elected to the 5th District seat Lankford vacated. Returning to Congress are Oklahoma Reps. Frank Lucas, Tom Cole, Jim Bridenstine and Markwayne Mullin.

Four Oklahoma Congressmen voted for House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to continue in that role. Bridenstine was one of three House members who voted for Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.) as speaker.

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