4 minute read

On Nov. 3, Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District voted down an incumbent who engaged with her constituency frequently, poured herself into her passion project as chair of the House Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics, and worked with the House Majority to achieve her campaign goals of strengthening Medicare and protecting Social Security. 

She was replaced by a conservative ideologue whose goal, as stated in her victory speech, was to “go to work to give Nancy Pelosi a new title and that is a former speaker of the house.”

That is all Stephanie Bice has planned for us? To be a pain-in-the-ass backbencher in the House Minority and work as a door jam against progress? 

While her predecessor, U.S. Rep. Kendra Horn, was not always a dependable vote on Democratic initiatives, we knew she was working for us. By all appearances, Bice will now merely be a rubber stamp for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California), who continues to enable outgoing President Donald Trump’s attempts to stay in power. 

Opinion

Opinion

by George Lang, opinion writer for Free Press

Up through her successful campaign, Bice worked hard to prove she could be a palatable conservative for Oklahoma’s rapidly purpling CD-5. She was a key player in modernizing Oklahoma’s alcohol laws, but also helped create a duopoly of alcohol distributors in the state. She often posed for photos at local restaurants and food trucks, but her votes enabled massive businesses like Walmart and malignant forces like the National Rifle Association. 

Bice tipped her hat on what kind of Republican she will be when she posed for photos outside a Washington, D.C.-area church with Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Qanon adherent who won Georgia’s 14th Congressional District in a walk. Fortunately for her health, Bice was wearing a mask while standing next to the unmasked Greene, who is an odds-on favorite to be the most unhinged member of the 117th Congress. 

“Democrats scheduled new member sessions Sunday morning,” wrote Greene or someone working for her on the Twitter post featuring Bice. “Democrats are the party that shut down church and believe government is God. We disagree. We are going to church. Welcome to the 117th Congress.”

So, Bice is aligning herself with the lunatic fringe of her party, the people who support sweeping immigration bans on people from her father’s home country of Iran and believe in the toxic political fairy tale of Qanon, which was dreamed up by an American expatriate pig farmer in the Philippines named Jim Watkins who founded the hate site known as 8chan. 

Horn was a true representative for CD-5, and while I do not always agree with her, particularly when she broke with Democrats and opposed the HEROES Act, a $3 trillion piece of COVID-19 stimulus and relief package, I respect her reasons. 

An avowed centrist who previously worked for the avowed centrist and former U.S. Rep. Brad Carson, Horn sees the virtue in reaching across the aisle even when the other side has its arms crossed defiantly. It paid off for Horn, who successfully co-authored 20 bills that were signed into law by Trump — no easy feat when dealing with an obstructive and deeply vindictive president. She was ranked 11th in Congress by Govtrack for her ability to recruit bipartisan support on bills. 

One thing I greatly admired in Horn was her tie to this community. Horn met with constituents more frequently than I have ever experienced in my voting lifetime. 

Horn won CD-5 in 2018 by utilizing the tried and true Sally’s List method of putting boots on the ground, knocking doors and canvassing every possible voter in the district. Sadly, this was not possible with COVID-19 in the air, and her campaign often relied on the more obtrusive and less personal practice of phone banking. 

So, because Bice literally tried to outgun her runoff opponent Terry Neese to attract CD-5’s gun-addled voters in a string of toxic campaign ads and benefitted from targeted funds from the National Republican Congressional Committee, which designated the district as a must-win, we are now just another generic “No” vote on progress. 

Or, if her alliances with Trumpworld dead-enders like Greene and U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York offer any indication, she could be a particularly toxic “No.” 


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