Santa Fe welcomes Rep. Stephanie Bice


Zachary Mcnaught

Rep. Bice describes her life as a Congresswoman.

Zachary Mcnaught, Howler Staff Writer

Representative Stephanie Bice of Oklahoma’s fifth congressional district came to Santa Fe on Tuesday, Feb. 14 to speak to students in KC William’s AP Government class about a congresswoman’s day-to-day life, the responsibilities of our elected officials and our civic duty as voters. 

Bice went over a multitude of aspects of a congresswoman’s life. For example, she joked about the pace of her life around Washington, DC.

“The joke is that I live my life in 15 minute increments when I’m in DC because it’s just so busy when I’m there,’’ Bice said.

This fast paced life could be accredited to Bice’s involvement in four House committees while other representatives often partake in only one or two of these committees, Bice said. Those committees include the House Appropriations Committee, the House Committee on Armed Services, the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology and lastly, the House Administration Committee.

“You’re going from one meeting to another, maybe one committee hearing that lasts an hour, an hour and a half,” Bice said. “You have a lot of constituents that are flying into Washington to be able to meet with their member of Congress, whether it’s through an association or trade group.” 

Not only did Bice give students a look at what the life of a politician looks like, but she also answered questions related to partisan beliefs and working with members of Congress that have differing views.

One student asked congresswomen Bice her thoughts on her political party. Bice responded that she had been a Republican all of her life. She pointed out that, in Congress, there are a number of smaller factions within parties of the government that work together to provide solutions to political issues, but sometimes, these factions can act out and cause a lot of media attention.

“The people (members involved in smaller factions of Congress) you hear about are not the majority of Congress,’’ Bice told students.

On the topic of bipartisan issues that legislators are seeking to find solutions, Bice referenced the Architect of the Capitol, J. Brett Blanton, who was fired Monday for ethical violations and misusing government property. Bice the job as a position appointed by the president who serves a 10 year term and their job is to basically oversee the complex of the Capitol. However, it seems the current Architect of the Capitol had overstepped his boundaries.

“He misused government resources,” Bice said. “He had a government vehicle that had gas paid that was only intended to be used for work, but he let his wife and even children drive the vehicle around, as well as drive the vehicle for vacation.”

After not only misusing government material he had also committed a greater offense. During the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, he was not present on the site.

He was called up to Congress where a bipartisan group chastised him for his decisions involving government resources and questioning his location during the January 6 attack. The architect of the Capitol was dismissed from his job by current president Joe Biden on Monday, Feb. 13.

Students were invited to ask Rep. Bice questions during the presentation.

One other question asked by a Santa Fe student was about Florida Governor Ron DeSantis refusing the inclusion of AP African American studies in school. Bice responded by saying parents deserve to have more of a voice in their children’s education and that there are many ways to make a change if you want to.

“If you are not happy with the way that your school is advocating, then go talk to your local school board,” Bice said.

Bice also covered several topics from voting to the recent State of the Union address, that occurred the week before her visit, which caught the attention of students. 

“I thought it was so awesome sauce for Bice to come here,” senior Cameron Kim said. “Especially when she talked about Biden’s State of the Union address.”

Bice indicated that “a lot of information was given” but didn’t go into specifics about the details of the State of the Union address. However, she did highlight the guest she invited to D.C. for the address.

“I invited Tommy Johnson, who is the Sheriff of Oklahoma County.” Bice said. “He’s done a remarkable job of trying to manage the sheriff’s office here. And I thought it would be a great opportunity to recognize him.” 

Bice’s visit to Santa Fe was an unique and exciting opportunity for students and actually part of her job.

You find out what people’s needs are. You ask the right questions, and then you go to advocate for them.

— Rep. Stephanie Bice

“One of my jobs as a state legislator, and now as a member of Congress is to build relationships.” Bice said. “That’s what this job is all about. It’s not that hard. You find out what people’s needs are. You ask the right questions, and then you go to advocate for them.”

Bice used her visit to encourage young people to vote and get involved in politics, noting the local election happening on the day she visited. 

“We live in the greatest country in the world and we have the opportunity to be able to choose your elected officials.” Bice said. “But if you don’t get out and vote, you can’t complain when you don’t like what’s happening.” 

Bice enriched students with much knowledge about the political landscape of our country. Many students found it very interesting to be able to ask a representative their questions and have them answered.

“She was very personable and caring as a person and speaker, I thought she did a phenomenal job of showing how both Democrats and Republicans can work together.” said AP Government teacher KC Williams. “ I find it really neat to have our representative take the time to speak to our high school students.”