After a year as GOP Conference chair, Elise Stefanik reflects, 'the American people are smart'

The New York Republican who claimed the number three position in the House GOP leadership after the ouster of Liz Cheney has been sounding alarms about the crisis of Democratic governance in Biden's America.

Updated: May 15, 2022 - 10:43pm

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Reflecting on one year in her position as GOP House Conference Chair, New York Rep. Elise Stefanik remains just as concerned as ever about the multiple crises facing the United States today.

"Inflation, gas prices, and the need for American energy independence, addressing the crime crisis, addressing the border crisis — these are our key pillars of crisis messaging," Stefanik told Just the News in an interview.

A recent Axios study found that Stefanik speaks about inflation more than any other member of Congress — "more than once a day," according to the outlet — and she's proud of it.

"We were ahead of the game in terms of understanding that inflation was going to be a crisis and was hurting our families," she says. Over the last year, her job has been to make sure that message is communicated clearly and frequently to the American people.

As conference chair, Stefanik says she's proud of the work she's done to ensure the message is getting through to Americans that House Republicans see Americans struggling in their districts and across the country with kitchen table issues and are working overtime to win back the chamber to try to alleviate some of the burden.

"I always focus outside the bubble of D.C.," said Stefanik, who encourages members to speak directly to their constituents if they feel the mainstream media is corrupting their message. Ensuring that "every member has an opportunity to shine" has been a key target of her plan to unite and amplify the voice of the Republican Caucus. That, and widely circulated messaging documents she refers to as "robust, substantive, and focused."

"What I've realized is that the American people are smart," she said. "There is a reason why the approval ratings of just the broader media are absolutely in the toilet, frankly, and it's because they've lost faith." She encourages members to focus instead on interactions with "upstart news organizations" that offer balanced coverage to lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

"My predecessor had left all these issues on the table," said Stefanik, noting that Republican messaging and strategy was in a much different tactical spot "before I took the job." She is referring to Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, who was ousted early last year following her vocal support for the second impeachment of former President Donald Trump.

At the time, Stefanik made a swift and successful play to replace Cheney — the then-highest-ranking Republican woman in Congress. Stefanik, who was elected to represent New York's 21st district in 2014, offered House Republicans a vision for a unified GOP Conference along with the option to elect a sharp political operator who can appeal to women while remaining ideologically in-sync with the pro-Trump base of the party.

Stefanik has spent the last year making a promise to the American people that her party, should it reclaim the majority in the coming midterm election, will confront each of the crises of the Biden administration, in addition to going to battle with Big Tech, holding China accountable for its misdeeds, restoring economic and job growth, and recovering a sense of American freedom.

Those promises are the type frequently made during a campaign year. But with the approval rating of President Biden and his policies being what it is, Republicans appear poised for a big win in November. Stefanik, however, isn't one to take the environment for granted.

"We put our foot on the gas and run through the tape, no matter how good the polling looks," she said.