Who will put Oklahomans first?

The race for the 5th Congressional District has been tight. Who will prevail?

Delnaz Kazemi, Reporter

This November 3, the buzzing question of who should serve as representative for the 5th Congressional District of Oklahoma is on the ballot. Who will serve as our policy maker? However, there is more on the ballot than just the question of who will make the better policies. There is also the question of who will always put Oklahomans, regardless of party, first. And which of the two candidates will always strive to be as honest and transparent as possible?

The two candidates in question are State Senator Stephanie Bice and incumbent Congresswoman Kendra Horn. Horn was elected in 2018 during a tense election in which the Democratic Party took control of the House. Bice represents Oklahoma Senate District 22. She was elected in 2014 and her term ends in 2022.

Let’s take a look at the each candidate’s top priorities if elected. Horn said in a forum recently that her top priority is healthcare. Bice’s top priority? At the same forum, the Republican candidate said her biggest priority is “getting elected.” Bice’s priority did not mention a policy or concern. Just getting elected. Of course, people laughed. And I do believe that it was intended to be humorous. However, each candidate’s response matches closely with their track record.

About as important as (or possibly more important than) policy this election, is character and integrity. This applies greatly to the presidential election, but no less to this and other congressional races.

Horn served as press secretary for Congressman Brad Carson (OK-2) who was in office from 2001-2004. After that, she worked in the space and aeronautics industry. She worked with a nonprofit called Space Foundation. She worked in government affairs before going over to the media and communications department of the nonprofit.

Bice was elected into the Oklahoma state senate in 2014. Before that, she worked in the finance, business and marketing industries. She served as Assistant Majority Floor Leader for two years in the Oklahoma State Senate and she is the Chair of the Senate Finance Committee.

Congresswoman Horn has made it clear: Oklahomans come first. During the time that she has been in Congress, which is about 2 years, her top priorities have been healthcare, education, national security, and more.

Horn has fought to lower the price of prescription drugs and to protect access to care for people with pre-existing conditions. She has introduced four bills to make higher education more affordable and accessible and has received an ‘A’ rating from the National Education Association. She had also sent a letter to House and Senate leadership this week calling for a bipartisan investigation of the actions of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

Horn votes for what’s best for Oklahomans and citizens across the country. She has voted with her party on many issues, but also against when she feels that it won’t benefit her constituents. The bipartisanship that she shows is much-needed in this political climate. She rarely blames issues on “the other side” and focuses on finding solutions.

Bice, on the other hand, has clearly shown party loyalty. Many probably agree that it’s okay to an extent, that’s what politics is, after all. However, when sticking with your party becomes more important than serving your community, that’s when constituents’ concerns get thrown out, and the focus goes to making yourself look good for possible future campaigns.

Even a conservative group, Club for Growth, has said in a video that Bice’s priority is herself and they reminded voters that she voted to voted to “raise her own legislative salary”.

Bice criticized President Trump in 2016 and endorsed one of his opponents after some offensive comments were made by him. However, after he won, it seemed that all of her criticisms vanished. She doesn’t need to hate him, but the inability to speak out against someone after they have gained power is not what citizens need in a compassionate representative.

A great example of Horn standing up for Oklahomans when needed is after the presidential debate on October 22. The day after, she said, “Here’s one of the places Biden and I disagree. We must stand up for our oil and gas industry.”

In the end, it’s up to the voters to determine who will serve the 5th Congressional District of Oklahoma. Ideally, each person who is planning on voting will study each candidate closely and come to a conclusion, rather than vote with the party they are registered with. In this election year, it is especially important that we elect people to office that will focus on uniting citizens and creating policy that works for everyone, rather than policy that makes some people satisfied. When we are united, our nation is stronger.