Of the many horrible things that have happened since last Friday, the one I know most about is the confirmation hearings of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education.
For that reason, and because I feel so strongly that her confirmation would hurt millions of children, I made some phone calls this morning.
Specifically, I called the DC offices of all the Republican senators on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions.
DeVos has “donated” approximately $250,000 to five members of the committee voting on her confirmation.
If that were not enough, it is abundantly clear that she lacks fundamental knowledge on crucial education debates and federal education law. I am appalled that they are even considering approving her confirmation given her clear incompetence. If she were qualified and I disagreed with her, I would be upset; however, she so wildly unqualified for the position that I felt I must do something.
I hate calling people I don’t know. It makes my blood pressure rise. I clam up and forget what to say. It makes me so nervous.
I did it anyway, and here is what happened:
Committee Chair: Lamar Alexander (TN) 202.224.4944 – Busy signal. Will keep trying! (Chairman Alexander limited the questioning during the first confirmation hearing and did not allow a second hearing after DeVos’s ethics paperwork was released. If he thinks she is qualified and free of conflicts of interest, he should not be concerned about what will arise from a second hearing.)
Susan Collins (ME) 202.224.2523 – Left a message explaining that DeVos is unqualified and has too many conflicts of interest, so please vote no on her confirmation.
Lisa Murkowski (AK) 202.224.6665 – Left the same message.
Johnny Isakson (GA) 202.224.3643 – Left the same message, with the added information that I grew up in Georgia.
Orrin Hatch (UT) 202.224.5251 – Mailbox was full.
Richard Burr (NC) 202.224.3154 – Left the same message, though added that I attended college in NC and hoped the senator would listen to my concerns.
Michael Enzi (WY) 202.224.3424 – Someone answered the phone! I spoke to a staffer and registered my opposition. She didn’t even ask if I lived in Wyoming.
Dr. Bill Cassidy (LA) 202.224.5824 – Another live person! I explained that I am an educator and asked the staffer to tell the senator I would like him to vote against DeVos.
Pat Roberts (KS) 202.224.4774 – The office was experiencing a high volume of calls, so I left a message registering my opposition.
Tim Scott (SC) 202.224.6121 – I spoke to a staffer to voice my concerns. He asked if I lived in South Carolina. I explained that I did not, but that because I live in DC and do not have federal representation, I hoped the senator would be willing to hear my opinion.
Rand Paul (KY) 202.224.4343 – I spoke to another staffer and asked him to pass along the message that I would like the senator to vote against DeVos.
If you're not sure what to say, at The 65 (a reference to the 65 million who voted for Hillary) you can find scripts on this and other issues. Resist!