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Senate DFL Committee Votes No to Commissioner Yecke

April 28, 2004

Yesterday afternoon DFL members of the Senate Education Committee voted against the confirmation of Education Commissioner Cheri Pierson Yecke. Since the DFL maintains a razor thin majority in the Senate, they prevailed in a party-line vote: 6 DFL, no; 4 Republicans, yes. They then voted to recommend that the full Senate also defeat her confirmation.

DFL members are Sens Kelley, Pappas, Ranum, Skoe, Stumpf, and Tomassoni. Republican members are: Bachmann, Hann, Olson, and Michel.

ALERT:

ALL senators should hear from the public on this one. Please contact every person you can to call (not e-mail) their state Senators today and tomorrow morning. Leave a message if they aren't there. Also call other Senators and ask them to vote to confirm Commissioner Yecke. (See numbers at the bottom of this post.)

Talking points:
1. The governor should be able to choose his administration.
2. Commissioner Yecke is well-qualified for her position.
3. Commissioner Yecke is willing to show leadership on issues while remaining open to others' arguments.
4. She should be allowed to continue the work she has begun - it is far too early to pass judgment on new reforms.

Thank you! You make a difference. Your action matters! And EdWatch callers always are respectful.

Observations:
Those watching the confirmation hearing yesterday witnessed a kangaroo court against the Commissioner. Trumped up charges were brought forward simply to justify an unseemly political power grab.

Committee Chair Steve Kelley operated like a prosecuting attorney, as if some criminal sat before him. Commissioner Yecke remained calm, poised, and self-assured, answering each charge with candor and grace. Senator Pappas demeaned herself and the entire body with her deliberate disrespect of the Commissioner, mispronouncing Commissioner Yecke's name to sound like "Yuckie."

Each phoney charge was given a response, but the Commissioner's unforgivable transgression remained, in the eyes of the DFL Senators. Most of all, she was "divisive." Translated, that means she makes them mad.

All of us in the education movement have experienced the education controversy firsthand for years without end, it would seem. Yet, Senators Kelley, Pappas, and Ranum accused the Commissioner of bringing divisivenes into the state of Minnesota. And for that, she should be rejected.

The thousands of parents who have opposed and suffered under the radical education changes in our state are apparently invisible to the DFL Senators on the Education Committee. They don't remember the thousands of parents and teachers rallying at the Capitol only a few years ago? No, each one of those Senators supported a candidate for Governor in 2002, Roger Moe, who clung stubbornly to the failed Profile of Learning. And for that he was badly defeated.

Those Senators have eyes, but they do not see. They have ears, but they do not hear. If the full Senate does not confirm the Commissioner, the DFL majority will most assuredly suffer the same fate as their candidate for Governor in 2002. Minnesotans have very good memories. We will remember in 2006. Whether or not Senator Kelley is personally defeated, he will become the minority in the Minnesota Senate, and the Chairmanship of the Senate Education Committee will transfer to one from another party. Such are the changes elections bring.

Anderson, Ellen (DFL) (651) 296-5537
Bachmann, Michele (651) 296-4351
Bakk, Thomas (DFL) (651) 296-8881
Belanger, William (651) 296-5975
Berglin, Linda (DFL) (651) 296-4261
Betzold, Don (DFL) (651) 296-2556
Chaudhary, Satveer (651) 296-4334
Cohen, Richard (DFL) (651) 296-5931
Day, Dick (651) 296-9457
Dille, Steve (651) 296-4131
Fischbach, Michelle (651) 296-2084
Foley, Leo (DFL) (651) 296-4154
Frederickson, Dennis (651) 296-8138
Gaither, David (651) 296-4314
Hann, David HAN (651) 296-1749
Higgins, Linda (DFL) (651) 296-9246
Hottinger, John (DFL) (651) 296-6153
Johnson, Dean (DFL) (651) 296-3826
Johnson, Debbie (651) 296-3219
Jungbauer, Michael J. (651) 296-3733
Kelley, Steve (DFL) (651) 297-8065
Kierlin, Bob (651) 296-5649
Kiscaden, Sheila (Ind) (651) 296-4848
Kleis, Dave (651) 296- 6455
Knutson, David (651) 296-4120
Koering, Paul (651) 296-4875
Kubly, Gary (DFL) (651) 296-5094
Langseth, Keith (DFL) (651) 296-3205
Larson, Cal (651) 296-5655
LeClair, Brian (651) 296-4166
Limmer, Warren (651) 296-2159
Lourey, Becky (DFL) (651) 296-0293
Marty, John (DFL) (651) 296-5645
McGinn, Mike (651) 297-8073
Metzen, James (DFL) (651) 296-4370
Michel, Geoff (651) 296-6238
Moua, Mee (DFL) MWAH (651) 296-5285
Murphy, Steve (DFL) (651) 296-4264
Neuville, Thomas (651) 296-1279
Nienow, Sean (651) 296-5419
Olson, Gen (651) 296-1282
Ortman, Julianne (651) 296-4837
Ourada, Mark (651) 296-5981
Pappas, Sandra (DFL) (651) 296-1802
Pariseau, Pat (651) 296-5252
Pogemiller, Lawrence (DFL) (651) 296-7809
Ranum, Jane (DFL) (651) 297-8061
Reiter, Mady (651) 296-1253
Rest, Ann (DFL) (651) 296-2889
Robling, Claire (651) 296-4123
Rosen, Julie (651) 296-5713
Ruud, Carrie (651) 296-4913
Sams, Dallas (DFL) (651) 297-8063
Saxhaug, Tom (DFL) (651) 296-4136
Scheid, Linda (DFL) (651) 296-8869
Senjem, David (651) 296-3903
Skoe, Rod (DFL) (651) 296-4196
Skoglund, Wesley (DFL) (651) 296-4274
Solon, Yvonne Prettner (DFL) (651) 296-4188
Sparks, Dan (DFL) (651) 296-9248
Stumpf, LeRoy (DFL) (651) 296-8660
Tomassoni, David (DFL) (651) 296-8017
Vickerman, Jim (DFL) (651) 296-5650
Wergin, Betsy (651) 296-8075
Wiger, Charles (DFL) (651) 296-6820
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