We Know We Belong to the Land - A Hundred Years of Oklahoma and the Congress
Approaching the Millennium (part 6)
In the Senate, David Boren became the most popular Democrat in the state since his term as governor and election to the Senate in 1978. He chaired the Select Committee on Intelligence and served on the committees on Finance, Agriculture, and Small Business. In 1981, his colleague, Republican Don Nickles, retained the Senate seat captured by Henry Bellmon in 1968. He served on the Energy and Natural Resources, Appropriations, and Budget committees.
David Boren taking the oath of office, with Molly Boren and Vice President George H. W. Bush

Above: Vice President George H. W. Bush administers the oath of office to Senator David L. Boren in 1985 as Boren’s wife Molly looks on.  A moderate to conservative Democrat, Boren always bristled on energy taxes and regulation.  (Courtesy Office of the President, University of Oklahoma)

Don Nickles with constituents in Mangum

Above: Known for throwing some of the sharpest partisan elbows in the Congress, Senator Don Nickles early on established himself as a leader in the GOP.  He headed the National Republican Senatorial Committee during the 1989-1990 cycle, chaired the Republican Policy Committee, and served as assistant majority leader (the formal title given by Republicans to their whip).  Nickles visits with constituents from Mangum.  (Courtesy Special Collections and University Archives, Oklahoma State University Libraries)

David Boren in Russia with James Exon, Howell Heflin, John Chafee, and Orrin Hatch
Above: In 1991, a group of U.S. senators visited Moscow to study the political and economic conditions of the Soviet Union.  From the left are J. James Exon (D-NE); Howell Heflin (D-AL); John Chafee (D-RI); Orrin Hatch (R-UT); and David L. Boren (D-OK, 1979-1994).  As chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence from 1987-1993, Boren played an important role in foreign policy, especially foreign aid.  Boren also became one of the leading crusaders for campaign finance reform.
President George H. W. Bush with Don Nickles, James Watkins, Joe Barton, and Phil Sharp

Above: President George H. W. Bush signs the Natural Gas Decontrol Act of 1989.  Immediately behind the president to the left is Don Nickles (R-OK, 1981-2004).  Secretary of Energy James Watkins stands behind Senator Nickles. To the right are Representative Joe Barton (R-TX) and Representative  Phil Sharp (D-IN).  A strong conservative, Nickles supported the successful fights to deregulate oil and natural gas prices as well as the repeal of the windfall profits tax. (Courtesy Special Collections and University Archives, Oklahoma State University Libraries)


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