Republican congressman Steve Stivers visited Ohio State Thursday to talk to students on topics ranging from political culture to the “down-in-the-weeds detail” of passing legislation.
Stivers’ visit, which took place in the US Bank Conference Theatre in the Ohio Union, was the latest in a series of visits from federal legislators hosted by the Moritz College of Law and the John Glenn College of Public Affairs as part of the Congressional Conversation Series.
Stivers said he chose to come to the event because Ohio State is close to his heart as his alma mater, but also so he could speak to students, even those who might not agree with him.
“I want to inspire people to continue to be interested in government and maybe be interested in serving someday,” Stivers said in an interview after the event.
Stivers talked during his time on stage about the state of political discourse in the country and challenged students to expand the views they listen to.
“Think about where you get your news,” he said. “Too often in our society today we get our news based on what we already believe.”
Stivers also spoke extensively about the way the legislature works today, generally saying Congress still works when it needs to. Stivers said the government was set up to make laws hard to pass.
“If it was really easy to pass laws, our freedoms would be in jeopardy every day,” Stivers said.
With a nod to his alma mater, Stivers said he believes in the hard work of government, referencing an Ohio State legend.
“I am a Woody Hayes believer in politics,” he said. “Three yards and a cloud of dust is pretty good.”
Part of the goal of the series is to bring civil discussion to what has become a toxic political culture, said Dakota Rudesill, the man who came up with idea for the series and an associate professor at Moritz.
“Our vision for this is that Congressional Conversations is an opportunity to talk about the law-making process in Congress, to talk about the direction of policy in this country and to talk about leadership and citizenship in our republic,” Rudesill said.
The event finished with Stivers taking questions from students in attendance, one of which came from Claire Palmer, a second-year in public policy analysis, who asked about women’s place in the Republican Party.
“I try to make myself accessible to everybody,” Stivers said. “Make sure I represent everybody.”
Stivers was well received and greeted a long line of students who stuck around for a moment to thank the Congressman or snap a selfie before continuing with their day.