Today, I write to you not as an economist, but as a father of two young children, a Christian constantly seeking to follow God’s will and a citizen disappointed with our elected officials.

On this past Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives failed to override President Bush’s veto of H.R. 976, which would provide health insurance to 3.8 million uninsured children and better health insurance to 2 million more. While the measure garnered the support of a clear majority of U.S. representatives, including 44 Republicans, the measure fell 13 votes short of the two-thirds required to override a presidential veto.

Among Oklahoma’s representatives, the lone Democrat, Rep. Dan Boren, also was the lone vote in favor of the bill. Oklahoma’s House Republicans — Reps. Mary Fallin, Tom Cole, Frank Lucas and John Sullivan — all opposed the measure.

The votes of our Republican officials disappoint me on many levels. As a father, I believe our leaders should do more to help our nation’s children.

The vote troubles me as a Christian as well. Whenever I read my Bible the message is clear: God is calling each and every one of us to help those who need help. H.R. 976 would have helped 5.8 million children and their families. As a Christian, I believe our leaders should do more to help our nation’s children.

As a citizen, I am doubly disappointed. We elect our representatives to go to Congress and pass laws to improve our lives. This bill that our Republican leaders opposed would have helped 5.8 million children and their families. Yet, they opposed the bill not because it would do too little, but because it would do too much, it would help too many children. Instead, President Bush and Congressional Republicans favor a proposal that would cover far fewer children. As a citizen, I believe our leaders should do all they can to help our families.

I have received many blessings in my life. I have a beautiful wife, and two adorable children. I have a career that I love, and I am generally healthy. However, perhaps one of the most important blessings I have ever received is that I have been allowed to struggle. I remember what it was like to have $1.39 in the bank with still a full week until payday. I remember when my wife and I had so little money that we had a monthly food budget of $20 for the two of us. I remember what it was like to not have health insurance. And I know what it is like to worry about the high cost of prescription drugs.

Alex Haley, the author of “Roots,” once said “When you see a turtle on top of a fencepost, you know it had to have some help in getting there.” I am like that turtle. I recognize that I have the life I have today because God has given me many blessings.

Yet God does not give us gifts just for us to enjoy the good life, just for us to be comfortable. He wants us to use those gifts to improve the lives of others. That is our responsibility. That is our purpose. That is our calling.

This week, our elected Republican officials had a chance to live up to that calling and help 5.8 million children and they said “no.” As a father, as a Christian, as a citizen, as a human being I am disappointed and even a bit angry at their actions. I believe we can do better.

The good news is I am not alone on this issue because millions of Americans want a government that is going to fight for our families. And our message to those in Washington is that when it comes to this fight we will never give up and we will never forget.

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