Today, my friend Sam contacted me from California to let me know that the confirmation hearing for Betsy DeVos is a very close vote. Two Republicans defected from party lines and announced they would not confirm her on the Senate floor. This is hopeful news for defenders of public education.
I called Sen. John McCain. I’d heard his voicemail box was full due to the pushback against President Trump’s executive order on immigration, and so it was. I did get through to his DC office, though, and left a message there. All of Sen. Jeff Flake’s voicemail boxes were full, so I used the contact form on his website to write a quick note.
Hopefully, they’ll both get the message before the hearing, which has not yet been scheduled [NY Daily News], but will be any time now since she passed the Committee vote by a narrow margin (12-11).
My message was,
As a parent in Arizona, I urge you to oppose the appointment of Betsy DeVos to the Department of Education. I feel her previous experience, interests, and investments are counter to the success of our school systems and students. I understand your Republican colleagues from Maine and Alaska have chosen to oppose this appointment, and I hope you will join them. Thank you for your service.
UPDATE (2/5): The hearing should occur sometime this week, so it’s not too late to call your senators! From WeArePowerful:
One of the closest cabinet confirmation fights is for Secretary of Education, with Trump putting forth Betsy Devos, a GOP mega-donor with no professional experience in education. So far, two Republican senators have committed to voting against her confirmation, Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). Murkowski, who had previously voted for DeVos in committee, specified that one of the things that made a difference was the “thousands, truly thousands, of Alaskans who shared their concerns”. Democrats from deeply red states such as Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) also held strong and announced that they will vote against her confirmation. Heitkamp noted that 95% of calls she received on the issue opposed DeVos, and quoted her constituent feedback in her announcement. Some senators, including Dean Heller (R-NV), are still publicly undecided.