Senator compares Legislature with military

Oklahoma State Senator Stephanie Bice was the featured guest speaker at the Aug. 24 Women's Equality Day luncheon in Fellowship Hall of the Tinker Chapel.

Oklahoma State Senator Stephanie Bice was the featured guest speaker at the Aug. 24 Women's Equality Day luncheon in Fellowship Hall of the Tinker Chapel. Senator Bice talked about encouraging others, but especially her daughters, that they can be anything they want to be in life and having a "why not?" attitude when contemplating reaching a goal that might seem a little scary. Women's Equality Day is nationally recognized annually on Aug. 26. The luncheon was presented by the Federally Employed Women Tinker Chapter and the Federal Women's Program.

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --

State Sen. Stephanie Bice recently told members of the Federally Employed Women’s Tinker chapter that the Oklahoma Legislature and the U.S. military have something in common.

“There’s not exactly a huge female representation,” she said.

The third-year legislator was the keynote speaker Aug. 24 at the Women’s Equality Day Luncheon at the Tinker Chapel’s Fellowship Hall. FEW and the Federal Women’s Program presented the event to mark Women’s Equality Day on Aug. 26.

Bice, who represents District 22, said she is one of six women in the 48-member Senate, and that only 13 elected officials of the 101-member House of Representatives are women.

“Unfortunately, that puts us 49th in the nation for female legislators,” she said.

Bice said she has the same challenges as military women in a male-dominated profession and more participation by women is important.

“I have a lot of young girls that will write to me, or that have interned for me, and they say ‘you’re a role model.’ And I appreciate that and I don’t see that about myself, but I want my daughters to know they can do anything they want, at any time they want, if they put their heart and soul into it,” Bice said. “Equality is a challenge, and not because we’re being sort of marginalized at all. It’s just a change in the culture, a change in a kind of perspective.”

Bice, a member of the base’s Honorary Commanders Program, made her mark early at the Capitol with legislation to overhaul alcohol laws, such as allowing liquor stores to sell cold beer. The work led to State Question 792, which passed in November.

Bice is now the state’s first Republican female assistant majority floor leader. She said she and Sen. AJ Griffin became the first women to run the Senate in March as Bice ran the floor and Griffin presided.

Bice ran for office in 2014 for two reasons, which revolved around her young daughters, she said.

“I’m a fourth-generation Oklahoman, and I really wanted to make sure that Oklahoma is a great place for my girls,” she said. “I wanted them to want to live here, to want to raise a family here, and I wanted to do what’s best for this state. And the second reason is I wanted to show them to don’t be afraid to step out of your box and do something big and bold.”

FEW is a private nonprofit that promotes equality for women and addressing concerns of women in the federal workforce. FWP is a federally mandated program for recruitment, development, training and advancing women employees.

In 1971, Congress designated Aug. 26 as Women’s Equality Day.

“The date was selected to commemorate the 1920 certification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, granting women the right to vote,” said FEW Tinker Chapter President Rebecca Traynor, an affirmative employment program manager with the 72nd Force Support Squadron. “This was the culmination of a massive, peaceful civil rights movement by women that had its formal beginnings in 1848 at the world’s first women’s right convention in Seneca Falls, New York.”

FEW’s Tinker Chapter has scheduled a silent auction fundraiser and bake sale starting at 8 a.m. Sept. 14 in the Bob Queen Conference Room in Bldg. 3001.