DeVos opponents press Sullivan

Parents and activists who don’t want to see Betsy DeVos confirmed as U.S. Education secretary are hitting the streets and the phone lines, around the country and in Alaska.

Listen now

Last week, Great Alaska Schools and Students with a Voice launched a home-spun telethon in an Anchorage home, which they broadcast on Facebook live. They say they took more than a thousand calls.

“We had seven phone operators,” Gabi Riquelme told the scores of demonstrators who went to Sen. Dan Sullivan’s Anchorage office Feb. 6 to deliver reports of those calls. “We were busy the entire time, not stop with phone calls. Alaskans really want their voices heard. And I think Sen. Sullivan really has, you know an obligation to hear us out. ”

Sen. Lisa Murkowski is one of only two Senate Republicans to come out against the DeVos nomination. Murkowski said DeVos hasn’t demonstrated enough knowledge about public schools. Sullivan, though, said he’ll vote for DeVos. In a written statement, he said she clearly cares deeply about America’s children.

Unless DeVos opponents can pick up one more Republican senator, it’s likely she will be confirmed in a vote Feb. 7.

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Liz Ruskin is the Washington, D.C., correspondent for Alaska Public Media. She reports from the U.S. Capitol and from Anchorage. Reach her at

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