Welcome to the Clay Padgett for Congress campaign website. I know you’re here to “kick the tires,” so let me give you an idea of who I am, what I stand for, and why I hope to earn your support in representing the citizens of Oklahoma’s 2nd Congressional District.
Clay Padgett for Congress: Serving the People of Oklahoma with Character, Service, and Civility
I was truly blessed to grow up in a family with parents who instilled in me a strong moral compass, guided by principled values, and a work ethic that rewarded an honest day’s work with an honest day’s pay. My values and work ethic have driven me to lead in ways that unify us towards common goals rather than divide us along ideological differences. I am driven by the ideals set forth in my former Army unit’s motto, “Deeds, not Words,” because words are meaningless without action. There is no room for moral ambiguity when one is entrusted with leading our Nation’s servicemembers, teaching our youth, or serving our communities.
I was the first person in my family to graduate from college. My education gave me the opportunity to serve our country as an infantry officer in the U.S. Army. Over the span of my 22-year military career, I rose to the rank of colonel and was proud to lead soldiers in a number of the world’s hotspots. My service included two combat tours to Iraq, both at battalion and brigade-level, and one combat tour to Kandahar, Afghanistan as a battalion commander leading over 1100 soldiers. These deployments were foundational in honing my leadership skills to win under incredibly difficult circumstances. Following my retirement from the military in 2015, my passion for public service led me to pursue my master’s degree before committing to a career in public education in Southeast Oklahoma. I believe public service is a privilege, it should be selfless, and the one serving should keep their promises. Serving a cause greater than myself is not only my passion but what drives me each day when the sun rises over Eastern Oklahoma.
One of the truths I know to be true is that treating others with dignity and respect is not only the right thing to do, it is foundational to our country’s success. Our differences drive America’s exceptionalism. Our diverse patchwork of backgrounds and cultures are why we live in the greatest state in the greatest nation in the world. We can never have the conversations that truly matter if all we do is yell at each other and fail to listen. Even though Congress has devolved into an era of hyper-partisanship, it is not reflective of who we are as Oklahomans and how we treat others within our communities. I pledge to tackle the issues that affect our communities with civility; one person, one conversation, and one vote at a time – it’s the essence of who we are and what we stand for.
Oklahoma is fully ingrained in my soul. It is where I met my wife, where I formed lifelong friendships, and where I have worked on the land and in our schools since retiring from the military. Good public policy is not a zero-sum game – in fact, it’s not a game at all. Good public policy is about finding reasonable solutions to complex problems which allow our generation and the generations that follow the opportunity to better their lives and achieve the dreams some may currently find unimaginable. I will work every day to make that a reality for the citizens of Oklahoma’s 2nd Congressional District. That is why I am running as your candidate for Congress and how I hope to earn your vote.