I am a Tulsa blogger who has failed to blog about today’s primary election. It’s close to unforgivable. After being away from the computer for two months with a back and neck injury that began more than two months ago, my plans for Primary involvement slowly faded away without me even noticing. But for what it’s worth on primary day, I want to give you information that I have found about the claims against Jim Bridenstine’s voting record and other matters. Jim is running for Congressman John Sullivan’s (R-OK-1st) U.S. House seat for Oklahoma.
If you have heard the Sullivan campaign ads accusing Jim of failing to vote at times, I have information from the Tulsa Beacon, which is the only print media in Tulsa you can rely on for conservative news and opinion. The bottom line is that Jim Bridenstine has voted as a member of the military for many years, and now retired from active duty and living back in Tulsa, he still deploys to fly drug-related missions around the world. Because of his deployments, he has voted by absentee ballot
many times at times:
Bridenstine, like many Navy pilots, lived in California as required by military orders. While there, he spent much of his time on an aircraft carrier called the USS Abraham Lincoln on which he deployed numerous times to various parts of the world including the North Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf to fly combat missions in Afghanistan and Iraq.
As a Navy pilot, Bridenstine registered to vote in Pensacola, Florida where he went to flight school in 1998. Military personnel are allowed to maintain their voting status in one location as they travel around the world, and Bridenstine kept his voting status in Florida through 2008. He registered to vote in Oklahoma when he returned home to Tulsa to be the Executive Director of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum. As a Florida voter who deployed around the world, he voted absentee. As an Oklahoma voter, who still deploys in counter-drug missions around the world, Bridenstine still votes absentee much of the time.
Lieutenant Commander Jim Bridenstine is currently a pilot in the U.S. Navy Reserve where he flies the E-2C Hawkeye in Central and South America in support of America’s war on drugs. Early in his active duty career, Bridenstine flew E-2C Hawkeyes off the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln. It was there that he flew combat missions and gathered most of his 1,900 flight hours and 333 carrier arrested landings. Bridenstine participated in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, Operation Southern Watch in Iraq, and Operation Shock and Awe in Iraq. While on active duty, Bridenstine transitioned to the F-18 Hornet and flew with the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center, the parent command to TOPGUN.
Rep. Sullivan has also accused Bridenstine of taking an improper tax deduction. Read the details at the Tulsa Beacon article linked above:
After getting home from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Bridenstine started an alpaca business for the production of high quality fiber. A few months later, when the Navy moved him to Nevada, he purchased a ranch. As business owners, ranchers depreciate capital equipment and livestock according to a schedule set forth by the IRS. Bridenstine depreciated his capital equipment and livestock.
A quote from Bridenstine:
“It is embarrassing that a sitting Congressman believes capital depreciation is a ‘loophole.’ It seems John Sullivan has never owned or operated a business with capital assets. Even more astonishing is that John Sullivan voted for the depreciation schedule that I used in my business,” said Bridenstine.
Jim is a former Executive Director of Tulsa’s Air and Space Museum (TASM). Sullivan has made some claims that Bridenstine “nearly ruined” the museum and attendance declined during his directorship. Greggory Colpitts is a TASM board member and member of the Operating Committee of TASM, as well as the Museum’s legal counsel. In this letter, he says the claims are untrue:
1. TASM adamantly denies that “right after [Jim Bridensine] [sic] began managing the museum, things started falling apart”.
2. TASM adamantly denies that “museum attendance declined 44% during Jim Bridenstine’s tenure. In fact, attendance at the museum increased.
3. TASM adamantly denies that the “finances [of TASM] were a disaster” before, during or after Jm bridenstine’s tenure.
4. TASM adamantly denies that the museum was “nearly ruined” by Jim Bridenstine or anyone else.
The allegations made by John Sullivan for congress regarding the Tulsa Air and Space Museum were a reckless denial of the facts, and the Tulsa Air and Space Museum demands that Sullivan for Congress publicly withdraw the allegations made by it.
The letter is signed by “Greggory T. Colpitts, for the firm.”
UPDATE: Congressman Sullivan, during his tenure in the U.S. House (2002-present) has missed 9% of his opportunities to vote on behalf of Oklahomans. The media for missed votes in the House is 2.4%. See the breakdown at GovTrack. In 23 of 42 Session Quarters, Sullivan has missed over 5% of eligible vote opportunities. In Q3 2003, he missed 25.4%, Q4 2003 – 10.6%, Q1 2005 – 11.1%, Q1 – 2006 – 11.1%, Q2 – 2007 – 19.3% – that’s just a few examples. I see only 6 quarters out of 42 when Sullivan missed under the median 2.4%.
I, like many Tulsans, appreciate Congressman Sullivan’s active status in helping us defeat a really disgusting Casino build in a Broken Arrow neighborhood, with the impressive Tulsa Technology School across the street and an elementary school scheduled to build about three blocks away. But really, what U.S. Congressman representing the District would not have been active in the casino’s demise? Tulsa is conservative and any elected official not stepping up or ignoring this ugly intrusion on family life, would have been booted out of office. Sullivan was paid to do what he did on behalf of his constituents.