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'Kill the Cancer': Tom Coburn Urges State Leaders to Act

In late 2013, retired U.S. Senator Dr. Tom Coburn was diagnosed with Stage Four prostrate cancer, his fourth round with the disease.

“I went to the best physicians I could find,” Coburn related before a captive gathering of hundreds of state legislators on December 3. “I told them, ‘I don’t want you treating my pain.  I want you to kill the cancer. I don’t care what it takes.'”

Coburn was recently declared completely cancer free.

“I stand before you today with no evidence of disease because we aggressively treated the problem, not the symptoms,” Coburn emphasized, calling on the legislators to utilize their constitutional authority to address the nation’s core problem of federal overreach.

“You got to go all the way in order to treat this disease–the concentration of power in Washington that limits our liberty and also our economic success.”

“The Founders gave us this wonderful tool with which to treat the real disease, and it’s called Article Five,” said Coburn. Within Article Five is the constitutional provision that allows the states to institute constitutional reforms to curb federal overreach.

Coburn, who is also a physician, spent 10 years as a U.S. Senator for Oklahoma before doing what almost no politician ever does–leaving before his term had finished.

“I retired early, because the answers aren’t going to come out of Washington,” said Coburn, who now spends 200 days out of the year talking to Americans and state legislators about Convention of States Project.

“This is going to be the biggest army of Americans who love our country and love liberty that has ever arisen,” Coburn said, referring to Convention of States, which now has about one million known supporters.

“Washington will never fix itself,” Coburn said. “I’ve been there, it stinks. It’s about them, it’s not about us, and it’s time to change that.”

“Our Founders intended for you to hold them accountable,” said Coburn, looking out at the state legislators in attendance. “And let me tell you, they need to be held accountable.”

Coburn’s signature issue while in Washington D.C. was government spending, highlighted by his “Waste Report” which detailed hundreds of billions of dollars in annual government waste. But Coburn says that a balanced budget amendment alone will not fix the problem.

“We’re never going to fix it by doing just one of the things,” said Coburn. “We’re not going to kill the cancer that way. You can’t just do radiation. You have to cut out the cancer. We have to do all of the things that are necessary in order to restore our liberty.”

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