No one in their right mind would ever appoint Senator Sylvia Allen chair of the Senate Education Committee. But then no one believes that Senate President Andy Biggs is in his right mind. He is an ideological extremist, nothing more.
For Arizona’s “education leaders” who thought that your settlement of the education funding inflation adjustment lawsuit, Cave Creek Unified School District, et al . v. Ducey, was going to be a “first step” to further address education funding in Arizona, this is a clear signal just how badly you misjudged the Tea-Publican Arizona legislature. Prop. 123 in the May special election is all you are going to get (if the voters approve).
Daily Kos summarizes it well. Militia-backing AZ lawmaker who says Earth is 6,000 years old now leads state senate education panel:
Tea party stalwart Sylvia Allen, who first became a state senator in Arizona (and a national embarrassment) in 2008, has been made chairwoman of the Senate committee handling education legislation. The Phoenix New Times calls her a “professional fruitcake.”
Allen is known for a string of bizarre and racist remarks as well as an attachment to conspiracy theories. For example, she believes the Earth is just 6,000 years old, a view held by some fundamentalist Christians but rejected by scientists and many Bible scholars. She also believes “chemtrails” are poisoning us and that “Agenda 21” is a plot to surrender U.S. sovereignty to the United Nations.
Brahm Resnik reports:
Senate President Andy Biggs on Monday named Allen to lead a committee that acts as a gatekeeper for education-related legislation, such as Common Core and spending. Allen succeeds Sen. Kelli Ward, who resigned last week to run full-time in next year’s GOP primary against Sen. John. McCain.
“She understands what Arizona students and parents need in our education system,” Biggs said in a prepared statement. “She is a very experienced legislator and I know she will do a wonderful job.”
Allen got into the senate seven years ago when Jake Flake, former speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives and the uncle of U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, was bucked from a horse and broke eight ribs. He died of a heart attack two weeks later. Allen ran for his seat and won, but lost a re-election bid in 2012. But then, in 2014, state Sen. Chester Crandall was found dead after falling or being bucked from a horse. Allen was picked by Republican officers to run unopposed for his seat.
During her senate career, Allen has pushed for uranium mining near the Grand Canyon, backed state funding of a militia run by the neo-Nazi J.T. Ready to guard the Arizona-Mexico border, opposed Medicaid expansion, suggested only half-jokingly that mandatory church attendance be imposed, encouraged an anti-semitic Holocaust denier to testify before the state senate, rejected mandating reduced carbon emissions and denied that humans are causing climate change. In 2011, she supported eliminating health-care coverage of 280,000 Arizonans, saying that people should do more to take care of their health and thus avoid having to see a doctor. “This isn’t the only time in our history when people had to choose between food and medicine,” Allen said.
Arizona Republicans don’t seem the slightest bit distressed by Allen’s crazed flakiness. Indeed, they appear determined to promote it by promoting her. And now she’s in a position to spread it to every schoolchild in the state. At least we now know what the Arizona GOP actually stands for: Goobers on Parade.
Any of Arizona’s “education leaders” who still believe that the Arizona legislature is going to provide public education more funding should resign now.