Almanac A members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics

Biography

Elected: May 1994, 11th full term.

Born: January 6, 1960, Cheyenne, OK

Home: Cheyenne, OK

Education: OK St. U., B.S. 1982

Professional Career: Farmer & rancher.

Ethnicity: White/Caucasian

Religion: Baptist

Family: Married (Lynda L. Bradshaw) , 3 children ; 1 grandchild

Republican Frank Lucas, who won his seat in a 1994 special election, is a soft-spoken, unflashy farmer and rancher. As chairman of the Agriculture Committee until 2015, he sought to bridge the divide between deal-oriented lawmakers from farm states and budget-conscious conservatives.

Lucas’ family roots in western Oklahoma extend more than 100 years; he owns a 480-acre farm and cattle ranch in Roger Mills County. He studied agricultural economics at Oklahoma State University, where he was active in the College Republicans and student government. He was elected to the Oklahoma House in 1988 at age 28 after losing two races. He shared an office there with Jim Reese, who became the state’s secretary and commissioner of agriculture. “He’s not a showboat,” Reese told The New York Times in 2012. “He just goes about doing his work and tries to work with everybody and is not about getting credit for himself.”

He got his chance to run for Congress when Glenn English, a 19-year conservative Democrat, resigned. Lucas had serious competition in both the primary and the general election. In the initial voting in the primary, he trailed state Sen. Brooks Douglass, who campaigned from his Oklahoma City base, 36%-34%. In the runoff, Lucas ridiculed “some Johnny-come-lately dressed up like a drugstore cowboy” and carried all of the rural areas to win 56%-44%. In the general election, he faced Dan Webber, the 27-year-old press secretary to former U.S. Sen. David Boren. Lucas ran an ad depicting the U.S. Capitol and saying, “This is where Dan Webber has worked his entire adult life.” The ad displayed a picture of Oklahoma farmland and said, “This is where Frank Lucas has worked his entire adult life.” Lucas won 54%-46%. Since then, he has been reelected by wide margins.

Lucas’ voting record is mostly conservative, but less so on cultural issues. He also increasingly has broken from conservative orthodoxy on economic matters. In the 112th Congress (2011-12), he voted against GOP amendments to abolish or cut funding for federal programs such as rural airport subsidies and the Economic Development Administration. The Club for Growth threatened to recruit a 2014 primary opponent to run against him after he scored in the bottom third among Republicans in the powerful anti-tax group’s legislative ratings in 2011 and 2012. He said the criticism didn’t bother him. “Any time I have to choose between the influences of D.C. political groups and my fellow Oklahomans, I will always side with my fellow Oklahomans,” he told the Tulsa World.

His main focus is the pragmatic work of the Agriculture Committee, where he became the ranking Republican in the 111th Congress (2009-10) and rose to chairman in 2011 when Republicans took majority control of the House. He found himself leading a committee full of freshmen and new members who did not share his bipartisan leanings. “Not everyone on the committee understands the history of farm bills, which have never been partisan by nature,” he told National Journal. “Getting them to understand the culture is a process.” He worked closely with Agriculture’s ranking Democrat, Minnesota’s Collin Peterson, to get a five-year farm bill out of the committee in July 2012. Their plan called for reducing spending on agriculture programs by $35 billion over 10 years.

But the measure never came to a vote in the full House because some conservatives wanted even deeper cuts to the food stamp program, which Democrats fiercely resisted. In a closed-door GOP meeting, House Speaker John Boehner also reportedly criticized the committee-passed bill’s dairy provisions—which contained a new market stabilization plan that major milk processors strongly opposed—as “communism.” The delays frustrated Lucas, who then labored for months to strike a deal acceptable to House GOP leaders, whom he referred to as “the management.” After being unable to work out a compromise in the 2012 lame-duck session, Congress ended up extending the 2008 bill for one year, giving Lucas another crack at trying to work out a deal in 2013.

In the summer of that year, Lucas once again thought he had found a political recipe to pass a bill. The legislation he managed to get to the floor looked to be a conservatives' dream: It cut spending $40 billion over 10 years, including $20 billion from the food stamp program, and it had bipartisan support from Peterson and many other farm-state Democrats. But then, discontented conservatives led by Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Fla., won passage of an amendment to give states the option of imposing work requirements on food stamp recipients, a move that shattered the delicate political coalition behind the bill. Lucas, who had spent two years in negotiations on the legislation, made a desperate last-minute plea on the House floor, but the farm bill failed on final passage, 195-234. Sixty-two Republicans voted against it while only 24 Democrats voted for it.

When Lucas was back in his district in June, the Tulsa World reported that conservative activists, some of whom did not even live in his district, showed up at a town-hall meeting in Skiatook, Okla., to protest the farm bill as insufficiently conservative. Lucas was also the target of radio ads from a group called Heritage Action threatening to recruit a "real conservative" to run against him in 2014. "I'm under attack by those people," Lucas said. "They're coming after me. They are all special interest groups that exist to sell subscriptions, to collect seminar fees, and to perpetuate their goals." At one point, he lamented, "It shouldn't be this hard to pass a farm bill."

During the drafting of the 2002 farm bill, Lucas helped to unravel the 1996 Freedom to Farm Act and its rollback of government subsidies, although he had once embraced the law and its conservative philosophical underpinnings. Lucas helped write provisions to control erosion, aid farmers hit by drought, and protect air and water quality. He successfully fought a plan to reduce the number of Farm Service Agency field offices. In the minority party during the work on the 2008 farm bill, Lucas strongly opposed an overhaul of farm programs as “a threat to the nutrition of the whole, entire world,” and he mostly succeeded in preserving subsidies for his district, which ranked 14th in subsidies between 1995 and 2009.

Also with an eye on his district, Lucas helped to write the final provisions in the 2005 energy bill governing rural grants and biodiesel tax credits. He remains a proponent of government support for alternative fuels, particularly switchgrass. On the Financial Services Committee, Lucas has been a reliable supporter of the banking and insurance industries. The liberal Center for American Progress complained in December 2010 when Lucas hired a former U.S. Chamber of Commerce lobbyist as the senior staffer to oversee the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which was charged with implementing the new law cracking down on the financial industry, including provisions on over-the-counter derivatives. The Office of Congressional Ethics in 2010 targeted Lucas as one of eight lawmakers who conducted fundraisers around the time of a vote on the bill, but later dropped its inquiry.

Back home, the real trouble for the easygoing Lucas seems to be on his ranch. He broke his nose years ago when a cow slammed a gate on him, and he lost a tooth while trying to attach an identification tag to a 250-pound heifer. And when drought hit Oklahoma hard in 2011, he found himself forced to sell off some of his herd. “Watching my wife agonize over her mama cows, that’s never any fun,” he told the Times.

Office Contact Information

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-5565

(202) 225-8698

RHOB- Rayburn House Office Building Room 2405
Washington, DC 20515-3603

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-5565

(202) 225-8698

RHOB- Rayburn House Office Building Room 2405
Washington, DC 20515-3603

DISTRICT OFFICE

(405) 373-1958

(405) 373-2046

10952 Northwest Expressway Suite B
Yukon, OK 73099-8214

DISTRICT OFFICE

(405) 373-1958

(405) 373-2046

10952 Northwest Expressway Suite B
Yukon, OK 73099-8214

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

(405) 509-3505

(405) 350-3344

RR 2, Box 136
Cheyenne, OK 73628-3628

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

RR 2, Box 136
Cheyenne, OK 73628-3628

EXPORT CONTACTS » *

Staff

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Abortion

Brad Morris
Legislative Assistant

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Jason Grassie
Legislative Director

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Christian Dibblee
Legislative Assistant

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Courtney Lincoln
Deputy Chief of Staff

Jason Grassie
Legislative Director

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Brad Morris
Legislative Assistant

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Brad Morris
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Legislative Assistant

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Courtney Lincoln
Deputy Chief of Staff

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Brad Morris
Legislative Assistant

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Christian Dibblee
Legislative Assistant

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Christian Dibblee
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Courtney Lincoln
Deputy Chief of Staff

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Jason Grassie
Legislative Director

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Brad Morris
Legislative Assistant

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Jason Grassie
Legislative Director

Homeland Security

Jason Grassie
Legislative Director

Christian Dibblee
Legislative Assistant

Housing

Courtney Lincoln
Deputy Chief of Staff

Human Rights

Brad Morris
Legislative Assistant

Immigration

Christian Dibblee
Legislative Assistant

Internet

Jason Grassie
Legislative Director

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Christian Dibblee
Legislative Assistant

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Brad Morris
Legislative Assistant

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Christian Dibblee
Legislative Assistant

Medicare

Jason Grassie
Legislative Director

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Brad Morris
Legislative Assistant

Religion

Brad Morris
Legislative Assistant

Science

Jason Grassie
Legislative Director

Small Business

Brad Morris
Legislative Assistant

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Brad Morris
Legislative Assistant

Tax

Brad Morris
Legislative Assistant

Telecommunications

Christian Dibblee
Legislative Assistant

Trade

Christian Dibblee
Legislative Assistant

Transportation

Christian Dibblee
Legislative Assistant

Veterans

Brad Morris
Legislative Assistant

Welfare

Brad Morris
Legislative Assistant

Election Results

2012 GENERAL
Frank Lucas
Votes: 201,744
Percent: 75.28%
Timothy Murray
Votes: 53,472
Percent: 19.95%
2012 PRIMARY
Frank Lucas
Votes: 33,454
Percent: 88.16%
William Stump
Votes: 4,492
Percent: 11.84%
2010 GENERAL
Frank Lucas
Votes: 161,927
Percent: 77.99%
Frankie Robbins
Votes: 45,689
Percent: 22.01%
2010 PRIMARY
Frank Lucas
Unopposed
2008 GENERAL
Frank Lucas
Votes: 184,306
Percent: 69.72%
Frankie Robbins
Votes: 62,297
Percent: 23.57%
Forrest Michael
Votes: 17,756
Percent: 6.72%
2008 PRIMARY
Frank Lucas
Unopposed
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (78%), 2008 (70%), 2006 (67%), 2004 (82%), 2002 (76%), 2000 (59%), 1998 (65%), 1996 (64%), 1994 (70%), 1994 special (54%)

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