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The historic ouster of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) on Tuesday has the House of Representatives at a standstill. Soon after McCarthy was removed from the speaker’s post, the House clerk announced Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry was appointed speaker pro tempore -- acting speaker. According to House rules, the speaker pro tempore’s authority is very limited. McHenry can preside over the election of a new speaker, but new legislation cannot be introduced without a speaker.

After Tuesday’s vote, the House of Representatives went into a one-week recess. 

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In the meantime, several names have been brought forth by the media. Several news sources have mentioned Rep. Tom Cole, a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation, who is in his 11th term in the House. Cole represents Oklahoma’s 4th congressional district. 

Rep. Tom Cole

TIME magazine called Cole “a level headed pro who has proven a talented in-fighter during his time running the leadership-driven Rules Committee and could well emerge as a grown-up choice.”

When asked by Native News Online if Cole is running to be speaker of the House, his congressional press answered with a short response:  “Rep. Cole is not running.”

In April 2022, Cole became the longest serving Native American in history to serve the U.S. House of Representatives.

In this time in the House, Cole has worked hard to get legislation introduced and passed to improve the lives of American Indians and Alaska Natives. Cole has served as co-Chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus since 2009.

“I am proud of my record as a champion for Indian Country. In addition to authoring, sponsoring and supporting numerous pieces of legislation, I have embraced my role as a resource for my colleagues, helping them understand tribal sovereignty, the federal government’s trust responsibility and how we can and should work in a bipartisan way to solve some of the issues facing tribes. While numerous strides have been made, there is still more work to do. In the days ahead, I remain committed to furthering, highlighting and elevating these important issues,” Cole said after he passed the milestone of becoming the longest serving Native American in the House.

On Wednesday, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) threw their names in the running to become speaker. Other names have been mentioned.

Cole’s congressional press office did not respond to Native News Online when asked if the congressman would be interested if he were drafted if there is a deadlock between the announced candidates.

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About The Author
Levi Rickert
Author: Levi RickertEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Levi "Calm Before the Storm" Rickert (Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation) is the founder, publisher and editor of Native News Online. Rickert was awarded Best Column 2021 Native Media Award for the print/online category by the Native American Journalists Association. He serves on the advisory board of the Multicultural Media Correspondents Association. He can be reached at [email protected].