J.R. Cook: Put aside party politics for Arvo Mikkanen nomination

The following is a copy of a letter sent to Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma) and Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) by J.R. Cook, a member of the Cherokee Nation and the founder of United National Indian Tribal Youth.

Dear Senators Coburn and Inhofe:

Some of you sat with Democrats during the State of the Nation address to supposedly demonstrate the importance of working together for the good of all Americans.

What happened?

It’s time to stop playing political games. Regardless of the so-called traditions and customs of the United States Senate, it is time for change.

Are you aware that of the 875 federal judgeships, there are no Native Americans?

You have the opportunity to take an important historical and much-needed step by forwarding the nomination of Arvo Mikkanen to the full United States Senate.

Contrary to your published comments, I am excited about the nomination of Arvo Mikkanen for a federal judgeship. An Oklahoman, he is a Kiowa tribal member, a graduate of Dartmouth College and Yale Law School, and an experienced Assistant U. S.Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma since 1994. His vast experience in both federal and tribal law would be an asset in serving the Federal District Court in Northern Oklahoma. He has undergone several FBI background checks and has been unanimously rated qualified by the American Bar Association.

Having worked with Native American youth for 34+ years and always encouraging them to strive for excellence, I am appalled that you would call for the withdrawal of this nomination.

Please put aside partisan politics. Native Americans deserve to be fairly represented in every level of our government.

At the least, please let the public know why you find Mr. Mikkanen to be unacceptable.

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