Tuesday, February 7th, 2017, is a day that will live in infamy in the annals of the United States Senate for the legislative action taken by 50 Senate Republicans against the interests of the children of America with their vote to confirm Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary. This despite deep opposition from teachers’ unions and other groups.
Betsy DeVos is a Michigan billionaire who has made her money backing private charter schools. DeVos has never attended, taught in, or administered a public school. Nor has she ever sent her children to one. Her answers during her Senate hearings were inadequate, ill-informed, and displayed a shocking ignorance of the complexity of the issues and structure of the department she would be overseeing. How can we speculate on what Ms DeVos might do to transform the educational landscape of the United States in her new role overseeing the schooling of more than fifty million American children? And how do we possibly think that she is qualified for that role? When pressed on the wisdom of allowing guns in schools, Betsy DeVos could only reply that a school might need guns in order to protect against grizzlies, citing a school in Wyoming that had built a wildlife fence.
Pence’s vote marked the first time in American history a vice president has broken a tie on a Cabinet nominee’s Senate confirmation – and the first tie-breaking vote by a VP since 2008. Pence was compelled to cast the vote after two Republican senators – Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska – joined all 48 Senate Democrats in opposing DeVos. Was there not one more Republican Senator who cared enough about the education of the children of America to stand up and do the right thing? I called your offices. Senator McCain, who I had always respected as a man of conscience, where were you in this fight?
These are the Republican Senators coming up for reelection in 2018: Mississippi (Roger Wicker), Nebraska (Deb Fischer), Tennessee (Bob Corker), Texas (Ted Cruz), Utah (Orrin Hatch), and Wyoming (John Barroso, Arizona (Jeff Flake), and Nevada (Dean Heller).
The women of America didn’t march for one day. We are on the move for good. And we stand tall for education. Watch out all of you Republicans who voted against education today. We have two years until election 2018 to get behind candidates who care about our children and education. Beware the wrath of Nasty Women.