James Lankford

James Lankford


  • Bachelor’s degree in secondary education with emphasis on history and speech, University of Texas (1990). [1]
  • Master’s degree in divinity, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth (1994). [1]


James Lankford is the Republican junior Senator for Oklahoma as of 2015, having served as U.S. Representative for Oklahoma’s 5th congressional district between 2011 and 2015. [2]

Lankford has received donations from the fossil fuel industry, including the billionaire Koch brothers. During his political career, Lankford has accepted an estimated total of $1,192,545 from oil and gas companies including Devon Energy, OGE Energy and Chesapeake Energy, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. [3]

As a Congressman, Lankford sat on the U.S. House committees on Budget, Transportation, and Oversight and Government Reform. He was chairman of the subcommittee on Energy Policy, Health Care, and Entitlements. He was elected Chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee where, according to his website, he worked “behind the scenes to push the Republican Conference toward conservative solutions for the issues facing our nation.” [4]

In the Senate, Lankford sits on the Committee on Appropriations; the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, where he is chairman of the Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management; the Select Committee on Intelligence; and the Indian Affairs Committee. [4]

Lankford has focused on opposing federal regulations on small businesses and the Obama-era Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. [1]

According to his website, Lankford says he is “committed to God, Family and the Constitution.” Before entering Congress, Lankford was Director of Student Ministry for the Baptist Convention of Oklahoma and Director of the Christian Falls Creek Youth Camp, the largest youth camp in the United States. [5], [6]

During his Senate campaign, Lankford received endorsements from fellow Republican politicians Mike Huckabee and Darrell Issa, both of whom have previously rejected climate science. [8]

Lankford has consistently opposed legal protections for LGBT people, telling Think Progress in an interview that LGBT workers should not be protected from workplace discrimination because “it’s a choice issue.” [9]

Lankford has spoken regularly at the annual conference of the American Conservative Union, chaired by Matt Schlapp, formerly employed in the Washington, DC, offices of Koch Industries. [10], [11]

Stance on Climate Change

June 3, 2014

In a statement responding to planned climate change measures announced by President Obama, Lankford said: [12]

“When all is said and done, what will we actually gain in our effort to preserve our environment, if this change takes effect? Right now, the President says we need to be a world leader in climate change mitigation. But will these changes actually improve our climate, or will they just cost struggling American families more money?” [12]

February 16, 2010

Lankford said in a debate ahead of Congressional elections: [13]

This whole global warming myth will be exposed as what it really is — a way of control more than anything else.”

“The federal government takes a new commodity, air, and begins to tax the use of air… It’s a ridiculous concept. It’s basically just a tax increase and not a way to control environmental issues.” [13]

On Energy

Lankford’s position on energy policy states that “all forms of American energy” should be developed: [7]

“Wind, geothermal, solar, and hydroelectric all show great promise for the distant future, but right now all of them combined can provide only a tiny fraction of our energy needs. We must explore, develop and transport all forms of American energy in a safe and efficient way for all Americans.” [7]

Key Quotes

August 4, 2015

In response to an announcement of the EPA‘s Climate Action Plan, Lankford told the Senate: [14]

“It used to be that Democrats supported also all the above energy but at some point they shifted to the ways of Solyndra and determined that if you’re going to be in that party, you have to commit to a certain environmental orthodoxy.”

“This thing seems to be about fear. Severe weather, imminent danger, if you don’t change everything in your life to the way that we think you should live your life, the whole earth is going to fall into chaos and ruin.” [14]

February 16, 2010

Lankford shared a Wall Street Journal article, tweeting: [15]

US Youth will be ticked realizing they’ve been duped by climate debate.” [15]

March 28, 2009

Lankford tweeted: [16]

“Snow in my backyard March 28! Wow Snow in the Spring, bring on the global warming.” [16]

Key Deeds

February 28, 2019

Lankford spoke on “faith, government and religious liberty” at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), an annual event organised by the American Conservative Union. [17]

June 21, 2018

Lankford was one of four senators to condemn the National Science Foundation for funding a program designed to increase climate reporting by meteorologists, calling it “propagandizing.” The other senators in the group were Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Jim Inhofe, also of Oklahoma and a significant recipient of Koch funding. [18]

January 21, 2015

Lankford voted against an amendment stating that human activity was a significant contributor to climate change, according to a report by Wired. [19]

July 2013

Leaked emails between Aaron Cooper, Director of Public Affairs for then Attorney General, Scott Pruitt, and Matt Ball, Oklahoma State Director for Americans for Prosperity, revealed plans for an event featuring Pruitt, Lankford and William Yeatman, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. The planned event aimed to attack the Environmental Protection Agency, with Ball recommending that Pruitt should “focus on what the AG does best, opposing the Obama administration and its nasty tactics on the environment.” Both the AFP and CEI form part of the Koch-funded network of free market think tanks. [20]

May 2011

Lankford voted in favour of opening the Outer Continental Shelf to oil drilling. [21]

November 2, 2010

Lankford signed the “No Climate Tax Pledge” which opposed “any legislation relating to climate change that includes a net increase in government revenue.” The pledge was organised by a group of Koch-funded, free market thinktanks: the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the National Taxpayers Union, the Institute for Liberty and Americans for Prosperity. [22]


Social Media



  1. LANKFORD, JAMES PAUL (1968– ).Oklahoma Historical Society. Archived May 29, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/U5SHs
  2. Senator James Lankford,” Congress.gov. Archived May 31, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/SGb9K
  3. Sen. James Lankford – Oklahoma,” Center for Responsive Politics. Archived May 31, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/nd6yd
  4. Who I am,” James Lankford. Archived May 31, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/GiJO3
  5. Homepage,” James Lankford. Archived May 31, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/yPRtt
  6. About James,” Senate.gov. Archived April 15, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/lpJ75
  7. Energy,” James Lankford. Archived May 31, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/zIhdr
  8. Endorsement,” James Lankford. Archived May 31, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/X0dxK
  9. Josh Israel. “What The Oklahoma Congressman Who Just Announced A Senate Campaign Thinks About LGBT Americans,” Think Progress, January 21, 2014. Archived May 31, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/7oaDZ
  10. Sen. James Lankford,” Conservative Political Action Conference. Archived May 31, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/0wKq7
  11. The Hon. Matt Schlapp,” American Conservative Union. Archived February 6, 2018. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/Or1aM
  12. James Lankford. “Lankford: What Difference Will New Climate Change Regulations Actually Make for Our Climate?Vote Smart, June 3, 2014. Archived May 31, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/Or1aM
  13. James Coburn. “5th District candidates united against cap and trade,” The Edmund Sun, February 16, 2010. Archived May 31, 2019. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
  14. Senator Lankford Advocates For Pro-Growth Energy Policy On Senate Floor,” YouTube video uploaded by user Senator James Lankford on August 4, 2015. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.
  15. WSJ article: Climate Meltdown http://ow.ly/17SHc US Youth will be ticked realizing they’ve been duped by climate debate. #fb #oktcot,” Tweet by @jameslankford, February 16, 2010. Archived .png on file at DeSmog.
  16. http://twitpic.com/2jbgk – Snow in my backyard March 28! Wow Snow in the Spring, bring on the global warming.” Tweet by @jameslankford, March 28, 2009. Archived .png on file at DeSmog.
  17. CPAC, Senator Lankford on Faith and Religious Liberty,” C-Span, February 28, 2019. Archived May 31, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/ER3kI
  18. James Rainey. “GOP senators challenge funding for global warming education program,” NBC News, June 21, 2018. Archived May 31, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/cQFPC
  19. Victoria Tang. “Here Are All the Senators Who Do and Don’t Believe in Human-Caused Climate Change,” Wired, January 21, 2015. Archived May 31, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/CbhaC
  20. David Armiak. “Pruitt Emails Show Close Ties to the Koch-Funded ALEC,” Exposed by CMD, March 7, 2017. Archived May 31, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/ivbK4
  21. James Lankford,” On The Issues. Archived May 31, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/2fOrX
  22. 10-AFP on Nov 2, 2010,” On The Issues. Archived May 31, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/WJMj8

Other Resources

Image credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr/CC BYSA 2.0

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