Dear Senator Feinstein,
First of all, I would like to thank you for your many years of public service on behalf of the citizens of California. You have been a trailblazer and a strong advocate for progressive causes. Please accept my gratitude and thanks for all you have done and continue to do.
I am writing to express my grave concern about two of the President-Elect's cabinet choices: Betsy DeVos and Jeff Sessions. I would strongly urge you to do everything in your power to block these nominations.
I am a teacher of teachers. At CSU-Long Beach, I train future choral music teachers to lead and inspire musical growth in K-12 schools. Ms. DeVos is an illogical and dangerous choice for Secretary of Education. As written by my friend and mentor, Dr. Mitchell Robinson, "The news that Donald Trump has named Betsy DeVos as his choice for Secretary of Education is just another brick in the wall for Mr. Trump’s plan to turn the US into a giant flea market, selling off the bits and pieces of a once great nation for parts to the highest bidders." DeVos has zero degrees in education and has never attended a public school! DeVos supports voucher programs that would draw much needed funds away from public schools to allow students to attend local private and/or charter schools. As has been shown in recent studies, public schools are not "failing." But if we continue to deny them much needed financial resources, they may begin to. Education is not a business. Education is not about the bottom line or the highest bidder. Education is about relationships and people and love and passion-- things I believe Ms. DeVos knows little or nothing about.
Equally as dangerous is the nomination of Jeff Sessions for Attorney General. As noted by the National Center for Transgender Equality, "Sessions has also been a virulent opponent of the dignity and freedom of LGBT people for decades. As Alabama Attorney General in the 1990s, Sessions worked to deny funding to Gay-Straight Alliances at state universities because of what he called LGBT people’s 'illegal, sexually deviate activities.'" Mr. Sessions is an extreme, dangerous choice to serve in the Trump administration. If Mr. Trump has a Mr. Sessions' "rubber stamp," there is know telling what irreparable damage may be done to the struggle for civil rights that has brought about so many progressive changes in recent years.
We need to move forward, not backward. Ms. DeVos and Mr. Sessions would come to Washington with dangerous extreme views, wreaking havoc on the lives of many ordinary Americans. Please, Senator, do everything you can to block these nominations.
Joshua Palkki, PhD