State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.
State House Sound Bites Podcast: NPR | iTunes | Google Play

As constituent calls flood offices, Toomey re-confirms DeVos support

Written by Katie Meyer, Capitol Bureau Chief | Feb 2, 2017 7:40 AM

Toomey has indicated he'll likely vote to confirm DeVos. (Photo by AP)

(Harrisburg) -- At US Senator Pat Toomey's various offices in Pennsylvania and Washington, the phones have been ringing off the hook for days.

Constituents are calling in droves, filling voicemailboxes with pleas for the Republican not to confirm President Donald Trump's cabinet appointees--particularly education secretary pick Betsy DeVos.

But the newly reelected Toomey seems to have his mind made up.

The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers is just one group that's come out strongly against DeVos. Spokesman George Jackson called the billionaire conservative donor unqualified, saying, "the only experience she's ever had for public education is a commitment to destroy it."

"She's called public education a dead end," he added. "We just think that somebody with her record of constant activism against public education should not be in charge of the public schools that 90 percent of America's children go to."

So far, just two GOP Senators have said they won't confirm DeVos. Toomey is not among them, but Jackson says advocates in his circles believe the junior senator could be swayed.

But word from Toomey's office is contradictory.

Though the senator hasn't said point-blank how he'll vote, his spokesman says Toomey believes DeVos is "a champion of school choice" and "a great pick."

The secretary also confirmed the enormous call volumes, saying they'd received feedback from constituents "on both sides of this issue."

Published in News, State House Sound Bites

back to top

Give Now

Support for WITF is provided by:

Become a WITF sponsor today »

Latest News from NPR

Support for WITF is provided by:

Become a WITF sponsor today »