Majority of Montanans Tell Daines: ‘No On DeVos’

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.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.

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Nathan Kosted


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  • $200 Million?? it may not be an exaggeration…nor a typo…but your figure comes with no verification. My research, on a thing called “Goggle..’ shows much lower figures.. from $2-$4 M.

  • Daines will vote for her no matter how many calls he gets against her. He knows his seat his safe in this so red state. I hope this well placed angry will turn into votes come this spring in the special election and vote for who ever is the democratic candidate . Maybe DeVos will be so incompetent as Elsie A.our OPI head that no harm may come. Well it will be a long 4 years and God help us.

  • I am quite pleased with Tester representing Montanans and advocating for us out there. What can we do to show him we are noticing who is listening, and who isn’t?

  • Is this just a battle between public schools and charter schools? Are educators worried about their rice bowels? Would this be a real shot in the arms for Montana Catholic Schools? Also, what about the inner-cites? What do the majority voters want? Not just the alt left. Danes is maybe doing the right job supporting the majority Montana voters and his party.

    • I have no idea what a rice bowel is, but gross.

      And the public absolutely does not support siphoning money from public schools to fund private schools. Here in Montana, we specifically forbid it in the Constitution, so Senator Daines certainly isn’t representing us.

    • Bill, Charter School ARE public schools. This would not affect Montana Catholic Schools, as the Montana Constitution prohibits public dollars from going to private schools. Montana does not have any “inner cities.” Even our largest city, Billings, is considered rural by the federal government. Betsy DeVos would harm schools in rural states where it is difficult for taxpayers to fund even one school, let alone an alternative school system. Her appointment would be devastating to Montana taxpayers, so No, I do not think a majority of Montanans, once they understand the implications, would support Betsy DeVos and her “vision” for the future of education.

  • My point is that all this spin about qualifications is nothing but smoke and mirrors. The real liberal opposition is against loss of funds for public schools because she supports vouchers for private schools. Why can’t the dems be honest. This approach of lies will not win you votes. I hope you can see through this as many voters will realize this, not if, but when she gets in office. The voters will determine if changes are required to make this happen. State Constitutions can be amended. The U.S. Constitution has 27 amendments.

  • bye bye Tester…….Yes this is Fox News.

    President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to be the Secretary of Education, Betsy Devos, has committed an unpardonable sin. Yes, she has tried to help millions of disadvantaged families have the ability to send their kids to better schools. This is of course reprehensible behavior on her part that must not be rewarded.

    Oh, and there is one more thing, she has spent millions of dollars of her own money in order to try to help these kids be able to achieve their dreams. How awful.

    In Louisiana we enacted the biggest school choice statewide program in the country. And in New Orleans every public school will soon be a charter school, allowing for real innovation. There will be literally zero traditional public schools, and education is improving.

    But let’s be clear, this is Holy Grail for the American Left. They will fight to the last gasp to stop anyone from delivering equal opportunity in education. They attacked me for it every waking hour after we got our program enacted, in the same irrational and nasty manner they are now attacking Betsy.

    Yes, the hard Left and the teachers unions are vilifying Betsy DeVos for exactly the reasons I listed above. They believe that allowing the money to follow the child is an attempt to destroy public education and ultimately the United States.

    These people are not rational. They are protecting a one size fits all monopoly that creates winners and losers in our education system. The winners are kids whose families have money and the losers are those who do not.

    If you are born to affluent parents – good news, you will either live in a ZIP code with good performing public schools, or, they will put you in an expensive private school. You are all set.

    If you are born to middle class parents, they are likely going to either make sure they live in an area with decent public schools, or they may save and scrimp and send you to a private school, albeit not at the country club.

    But, if you are born to poor parents, or one parent who is struggling to make ends meet, you may be out of luck. Your parent or parents don’t have the resources to move, and they certainly don’t have the money to send you to a better school. And the chances are pretty strong that your local public schools are failing, and there is a decent chance that you are an ethnic minority.

    So, one would logically assume that every bleeding heart liberal in America is rooting for you, and wants you to be able to go to a better school. Right?

    Because they care about people more than money, they certainly want you to have a choice. Right?

    No, wrong.
    The Democratic Party and the American Left opposes equal education opportunity. Write it down and memorize it.

    They oppose equal opportunity in education. They demand that you keep your children in a failing government school and they tell you to wait for their reforms to finally kick-in sometime in the next 100 years.

    These people are illogical and really should not be teaching anyone anything anywhere.

    Which brings me back to Betsy Devos. She has fought tirelessly for decades to give disadvantaged kids the opportunity to receive a great education. That is the sum total of why these Luddites on the Left are attacking her.

    You really have to hand it to Donald Trump here. Instead of picking an education bureaucrat, he picked a person who sees the bigger picture and knows that American education must get out of the Stone Age and move into the 21st century. Because Trump does not come from out of the political class, he has no regard for how hard it is to make any progress on education reform. Thank goodness for that. This is the breath of fresh air we needed.

    Finally, there will be a lot of folks to testify at Betsy’s confirmation hearing, and many will be raging liberals who are desperate to protect the Stone Age monopoly that is America’s education system.

    Not one of these people, not one, will have done as much in his or her life to improve the lives of kids in need as Betsy has. And most of them are total hypocrites who do not practice what they preach when it comes to their own children.

    Remember that while they rage. Also remember that it’s not the kids they are fighting for, it’s the antiquated government monopoly that they are protecting.

    What we have now is a closed government system that is failing. What we need is an open system that allows for change, choice, and innovation.

    Donald Trump clearly understands what is at stake, and that’s why he picked a reformer who cares about helping those kids who are currently being left behind.

    Republican Bobby Jindal is governor of Louisiana and a former Republican candidate for president of the United States.

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