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Carson addresses farmers in first speech as congressman-elect

TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ U.S. Rep. Brad Carson told an Oklahoma Farm Bureau meeting Saturday that he wanted to bring the ideas and ideals of rural Oklahoma to Washington, D.C.

``I want to be one of the leading advocates in the state and the nation of rural Oklahoma,'' the 2nd District congressman told more than 1,000 people in his first public speech since winning a divisive and often bitter race against Republican Andy Ewing.

Carson, a Claremore Democrat, said the Farm Bureau meeting was an appropriate place for his first public appearance because ``farmers are the backbone of this state.''

``It is a great honor and challenge to represent northeast Oklahoma,'' he said.

Throughout his speech, Carson often sounded like he was still in campaign mode, at one point telling people there is ``much work to be done and that is why I am running for office.''

Other times Carson sounded more like a congressman-elect heading to the House of Representatives, saying he looked forward to working closely with his Republican colleagues.

He said he also hopes to have close ties to the Farm Bureau and to open more markets for American agricultural products abroad.

Carson told the farmers said he supports farm subsidies, but believes the government should not mandate the types and quantities of crops planted.

He also broke with a prevailing Democratic view by saying he supported abolishing the estate tax because it unfairly targets ``asset-rich but cash-poor'' Americans such as the farmer.

Carson also spoke about the race for the 2nd District seat vacated by Tom Coburn, saying ``although ugly at times, it was an exciting race to be a part of.''

He said the negative advertising during the race illustrates the need for campaign finance reform because many of the advertisements were financed by ``soft money'' that poured into the race from outside the state, he said.
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