Arizona Education Association

Spring 2017

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Page 27 of 39

28 ADVOCATE | SPRING 2017 National Perspective A thousand educators, parents, students, civil rights activists and U.S. senators assembled across from the U.S. Capitol on the evening of February 6, 2017, to urge "just one more" senator to stand up and cast the deciding 'no' vote on Betsy DeVos as education secretary. Coming on the eve of the confirmation vote, the rally was the final exclamation point of a nationwide mobilization against a nominee whom educators consider dangerously unqualified to lead our public schools. The effort to defeat DeVos went into overdrive last week of January when GOP Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine, due to the overwhelming response from educators, parents and community members in their states, announced they would be breaking ranks with their party. With all 48 Democrats already united against her, DeVos was suddenly hanging by a thread. Only one more GOP vote was needed. In the end, however, that last 'no' vote proved elusive. DeVos was confirmed on February 7, 2017, when Vice President Mike Pence cast a vote to break the 50-50 deadlock ─ the first time in the nation's history this action was necessary to approve a cabinet nominee. Despite the disappointing outcome, the mobilization against DeVos shook Capitol Hill and the White House. Senate Confirms Devos; Educators Vow to Continue Historic Advocacy, Accountability By Tim Walker, NEA ARIZONA TAKES ACTION! Nearly 5,000 Arizona Education Association members sent 22,000 emails and made 1,900 phone calls to Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake asking them to oppose DeVos' confirmation.

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