Oklahoma Farm Bureau President Rodd Moesel recently hosted Congresswoman-elect Stephanie Bice for a conversation on her preparations to serve Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District in Congress.
Elected on Nov. 3, she will be sworn into the 117th United States Congress on Jan. 3, 2021.
Below, read five things we learned from our visit with Bice.
1. She has ties to agriculture.
Although Bice did not grow up on a farm or ranch, she is not too far removed from the agriculture industry. Her husband’s family continues to farm near the Okarche area in central Oklahoma. Through her conversations with family, she has learned more about the agriculture industry.
Through a friend, Bice learned about extreme disruptions in the supply chain throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. She’s hopeful to address the issues facing the supply chain by leaning on farmers and ranchers for solutions.
2. She’s taking on leadership roles.
Out of more than 40 newly-elected Republican members of Congress, Bice was chosen to serve as the Republican freshman class president. The role will allow her an opportunity to be seen as a leader and influencer in her freshman class early in her congressional career, and will help elevate the issues of Oklahomans in the nation’s capital.
3. She’s committed to improving technology and rural broadband.
For many years, rural communities across Oklahoma have faced a lack of reliable broadband access. This year more than ever, challenges with internet connectivity in rural parts of the state were underscored as the pandemic moved many people toward working and completing school from home.
Bice shared her understanding of the issue and is hopeful work may be done by Congress to bring high-speed internet to more rural Americans.
“If they (children learning from home) are having to download material at slow speeds, it can be cumbersome and ineffective,” Bice said. “It affects outcomes. We need to be mindful on the federal level of what we can do to spur innovation, develop technologies, and implement them into communities that truly need (better access to internet).”
4. She knows agriculture’s commitment to the environment and conservation.
As the new administration begins a renewed focus on environmental issues, Bice reiterated her trust in farmers and ranchers to lead the way.
“Farmers have proven themselves to be the original environmentalists,” Bice said during the interview. “Farmers and ranchers know how to take care of the land and environment better than anyone.”
Bice said she will lean on agriculturalists to help her understand how certain policies will affect the environment and agricultural practices.
5. She has experience working across the aisle.
After serving in the state Senate since 2014, Bice has learned how to work across party lines –even in a Republican supermajority Senate. She worked with her Democrat colleagues on a number of issues in the state Legislature including alcohol modernization and criminal justice reform.
Heading into Congress in the minority party, Bice will be able to lean on that experience.
“I have my conservative values and champion conservative ideas, but I also know how to get things done in a very bi-partisan way,” Bice said.
Watch the full interview with Rep.-Elect Bice below.