OKLA. CITY —
As a business woman and mother, Stephanie Bice has her eye set on winning the office of state Senate District 22.
“I want to makes sure we are doing everything we can for the state of Oklahoma to provide quality jobs and the best education for our children,” said Bice, R-Oklahoma City. “I want to make Oklahoma a destination for my daughters and not a springboard to another state.”
Bice, 40, and her husband Geoffrey live just west of Edmond and have two daughters, ages 18 and 13. She serves as director of business development for Smirk New Media. Geoffrey works in the oil and gas industry.
She is a 1991 graduate of Putnam City High School. Bice earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Oklahoma State University.
“When I’ve been knocking doors, what has probably been the most asked question is what do I think about education and Common Core,” Bice said.
Gov. Mary Fallin signed HB 3399 last week to repeal Common Core. Setting minimum standards for school children is not bad, Bice said. The teachers Bice has conversed with are in support of having those standards, she said.
“But how the programs have been implemented across the state have been very discouraging, quite frankly, for parents and for teachers,” Bice said. “It’s been stressful for kids and has been difficult for school districts.”
Legislators need to support an educational program that results in successful outcomes, Bice said. The objective has been for children to be more successful in reading and mathematics, she continued.
“If we’re implementing these standards in a haphazard way or are not really piloting the program to make sure we’re working out the kinks, we’re going to run into a lot of issues.”
Bice is one of three Republicans who could be elected to the state Senate at the statewide June 24 statewide primary election or the Aug. 26 runoff election. No Democrats or Independent candidates filed for the state Senate District 20 seat.
Republicans in the District 22 also include Deer Creek school teacher Leif Francel, 27, and Mark Thomas, 54, a home builder living in Yukon. Senate District 22 encompasses portions of Canadian, Kingfisher, Logan and Oklahoma counties, including part of west Edmond.
“I want to ensure that we’re doing everything we can to promote small business entrepreneurs to start their businesses in Oklahoma and grow them here,” Bice said.
Bice favors streamlining the state’s process of setting up businesses in Oklahoma, she said. Online resources in technology in the state have improved but still face many challenges to overcome, she said.
“Looking up information on the state website can be a challenge,” Bice said. “Everything has to be done in person. A lot of things can’t be done online.”
Bringing jobs to the state by supporting tax incentives is a way to support the small business climate in Oklahoma, she said. The state of Texas has been active in recruiting companies to move there, she said.
“They are offering quality job incentives or other tax incentives,” Bice said. “And I think we need to be doing some of that as well.”
Raising business taxes can stifle job growth, she said. So the subject of taxes should be carefully approached and avoided if possible, she added.
The Affordable Care Act has caused problems for small business owners by forcing small companies to offer health insurance, Bice said. States should be able to support small business without intrusion on the federal level, Bice said.
“It is somewhat of a burden in a lot of ways,” Bice said. “And if you don’t offer the insurance, you’re being penalized for that.”
Bice said it unfortunate that the state Legislature waits until the last minute to pass legislation. Legislators need to establish a method where they could get a head start on complex issues facing Oklahoma, she said.
“I think waiting until the last minute to wade through a lot of these bills tends to lead to challenges or nothing gets accomplished at all,” Bice said.
A lifelong Oklahoman, Bice is often asked by people living in other states why she lives in Oklahoma.
“This is the best place in the U.S. to live,” is her response. “It’s a great place to raise a family. Economically, it’s always one of the top five or 10 states.”
TO LEARN MORE about Stephanie Bice, visit her website at stephaniebice.com.