The calls pouring in are overwhelming the DC switchboard. In-state staffers for Senator Steve Daines can’t even keep up as the phone is ringing off the hook. I heard the phone ringing the entire time I stood in Senator Daines office yesterday. We were crammed in with 10 other Montanans to the Kalispell office as we expressed our grave concerns about Betsy DeVos’ nomination for Secretary of Education.
Over the last month many of us around Montana banded together and started organizing against Betsy DeVos’ nomination by doing the work of calls, office visits, letters, and emails to him. In the last week we really ramped up our efforts to engage as many people as possible. This was true grassroots organizing, just passionate citizens who wanted Steve Daines to listen. Groups around the state were part of this: individuals, teachers, activist groups on Facebook, contacts on twitter, county parties, Big Sky Rising groups, friends, and family. Thousands of calls have been made to tell Senator Daines that we, his Montana constituents, want him to vote no on the confirmation of Betsy DeVos.
The issues that were discussed yesterday deserve serious consideration and serious answers. Two former special education teachers who were in the Kalispell office with me were very concerned about the loss of funding for students with disabilities and special needs. Many were concerned about Betsy DeVos not having a plan to address the sexual assault epidemic ravaging college campuses. I personally expressed serious concerns about Betsy DeVos qualifications for the position.
Protestors at the Bozeman office of Senators Daines above demand that he vote no. “We’ll be outside Daines’ office twice a day, every day until his votes start reflecting the views of his constituents, not the folks topping his donors list.”
Betsy DeVos’ campaign contributions are not qualifications. DeVos’ family has donated over $46,800 to Senator Daines as well as over $200 million to the Republican party overall. That is not a misprint or an exaggeration. 200 Million Dollars.
Allegations of plagiarism of answers to her education committee questionnaire have been raised as well as her disconcerting answers to Senator’s questions in the committee. She could not show a clear understanding of the difference between proficiency and growth. These are basic terms in education administration.
This is not a partisan issue.
Betsy DeVos is not qualified to be Secretary of Education.
Senator Elizabeth Warren confirmed that DeVos has never personally had a students loan, nor has anyone in her family yet she will be tasked with administering the trillion dollar program of student loans with no experience of running a program of such a size.
One must ask, what are her qualifications?
DeVos has no certifications or experience to teach or administer children in a K-12 school.
DeVos has no certifications or experience to administer or teach in a college setting.
Her nomination is an affront to governance. It is a bald-faced attempt to buy a seat of power and President Bannon/Trump want to show us how little regard they have for government, the democratic process, and public education.
As was stated in the 1976 United States Supreme Court case of Buckley v. Valeo that established the reasoning for campaign finance limits,”large campaign contributions” are justified by the state’s interest in “the prevention of corruption and the appearance of corruption spawned by the real or imagined coercive influence of large financial contributions on candidates’ positions and on their actions if elected to office.” The Court further defined “corruption” to mean “large contributions … given to secure a political quid pro quo from current and potential office holders.”
Betsy DeVos’ nomination is a quid pro quo. She and her family donated hundreds of millions to the Republican party and she has been awarded a nomination to one of the most important, complex and crucial jobs in government and she’s not even qualified for it.
We need a qualified candidate. Senator Daines must vote no on Betsy DeVos.