Oklahoma Representative Kevin Hern (OK-01) has a message for his constituents: “work until you’re not here anymore.”
In a House Ways and Means GOP committee meeting on Tuesday, Representative Hern espoused the virtues of hard work, which he believes should continue long after the age of 65, when Medicare benefits kick in for older adults.
He then doubled down on the shockingly brazen claim that citizens should literally work themselves into the grave, railing against welfare and the poverty state he claims Democrats want to force upon citizens across the United States.
Meanwhile, Representative Hern currently has a stake in 18 McDonalds franchises across Tulsa, and has a net worth of approximately $93 million.
Hern bashes his own stepfather
However, Representative Hern claims he was not always so wealthy, referencing his childhood with a stepfather who received government benefits. Representative Hern believes that it is detrimental to children when they have a parent who receives government benefits, even if the parent pays taxes, which provide support for such programs.
In that vein, Representative Hern had harsh words for his extended family. “I grew up with a stepdad whose hardest work was running to the mailbox to get a welfare check,” Hern said in the House Ways and Means GOP committee meeting on Tuesday. “From a young age, I knew that wasn’t going to be my life.”
Representative Hern’s stepfather did not comment on the claims about his work ethic.
Hern against extended unemployment during COVID-19 pandemic
Unsurprisingly, Representative Hern is also against expanded unemployment benefits for families facing economic hardship due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. According to Representative Hern, “Where the government should be motivating Americans to fill the opening of jobs, the government is rewarding those who choose to stay home.”
Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt clearly agrees with Representative Hern’s position on ending extended unemployment benefits statewide. Governor Stitt recently announced that rather than providing ongoing support for Oklahomans who are still in the midst of a deadly pandemic, he would incentivize people to return to work.
Following his executive order, Governor Stitt was recently named in a lawsuit brought by an Oklahoma citizen who sued to continue receiving unemployment benefits.
Representative Hern noted he is not against all government support programs. He supports the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, due to its work requirements for family members.