(Chuck Muth) – Years ago, my friend, retired lieutenant colonel, and former congressman Allen West, was stationed in Afghanistan. We had a “pen pal” email relationship going at the time, and I asked him about negotiating with the Taliban.
Allen explained there was no way to reason with terrorists. They just don’t care.
I was reminded of that conversation last night after the Democrat majority on the Interim Finance Committee (IFC) voted to kill Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo’s emergency proposal to save Opportunity Scholarships for hundreds of low-income, mostly minority, students after Democrats cut their funding during the 2023 session.
Yesterday’s hearing opened with dozens of Nevada students and parents testifying, sometimes tearfully, for almost three hours during the public comment period in support of the governor’s proposal to use unspent COVID relief funds to restore the cuts so kids wouldn’t be kicked out of the schools of their choice and be forced back into a failing public school.
Some nine hours later Democrats pulled the rug out from under those kids, voting 15-7 to scuttle Lombardo’s proposal.
And the teachers’ union immediately did the Snoopy Dance.
“IFC has voted to reject Gov. Lombardo’s proposal to direct $3.2M in ARP dollars to vouchers for unaccountable private schools,” the Nevada State Education Association (NSEA) wrote in a tweet after the vote. “Good.”
One day voters will wake up and realize the teachers’ unions don’t give a damn about kids. They only care about protecting their own political power and near-monopoly over education.
By the way, twelve of the fifteen Democrats who told these kids to pound sand are women. So much for the idea that simply electing more women would better benefit children.
We don’t need more women in the Legislature. We need more CONSERVATIVES, regardless of chromosomes. But I digress.
These Democrats are using these kids as human shields to protect the teachers’ unions from competition from safer, better-quality private schools. But it’s even sicker than that.
During debate over the proposal, Sen. Rochelle Nguyen actually claimed the threat of hundreds of kids being kicked out of their schools was a “manufactured crisis.”
Yeah, manufactured by the Democrats.
In his budget released back in February, Gov. Lombardo called for additional funding for the scholarship program. And Republican State Sen. Heidi Gansert introduced a bill to do just that. But Democrats refused to give either even a public hearing, let alone a vote.
“We should have had this debate on fixing Opportunity Scholarships during the regular session,” noted Republican Assemblywoman Jill Dickman after the vote, “but legislative Democrats were too blinded by ideology to give any of our bills on this subject a hearing.”
Indeed, the Democrats cut the funding for Opportunity Scholarships during the session from around $11.4 million for the last school year to $6.6 million for the upcoming school year.
Yet one after another of these “George Wallace” Democrats took to the mic yesterday to claim they were shocked – SHOCKED! – to discover that kids would be kicked out of the school of their choice thanks to the cuts.
You’d have to be a moron to make such a claim. The Democrats knew damned well what they were doing. They just didn’t care.
Instead, they spent the afternoon and evening grilling and water-boarding the six Scholarship Grant Organizations (SGO) over their…bookkeeping.
“I don’t understand why you’re coming to the state and asking our taxpayers to fund your greed,” Democrat Assemblywoman Michelle Gorelow lectured one of the SGOs. “Because that’s what this is.”
Yes, you read that right. According to Gorelow, these non-profit organizations that are just trying to help low-income minority families are “greedy.” Not like the public school system which got over $2 BILLION in additional funding this year…
…and already want MORE!
“There was so much searching for a villain in IFC today, someone to blame for the Opportunity Scholarship issues,” Dickman wrote in a tweet. “I don’t care who was to blame, we had the means and opportunity to fix this, to make sure these hundreds of children weren’t devastated this school year. Failed again!”
“Instead of working to compromise and fix things for our most vulnerable families, the hearing turned into a partisan blame game,” added Assemblywoman Danielle Gallant in a statement this morning.
“Democrats never supported the (Opportunity Scholarship) program,” she continued, “refused to hear any bills during the session, and have been attacking the program every session since its inception.”
Indeed, the IFC hearing was nothing but dog-and-pony-show theatrics designed to manufacture excuses for rejecting the governor’s proposal and screwing these dark-skinned kids.
“I am saddened by tonight’s vote,” wrote Republican IFC member Assemblyman Greg Hafen on Twitter. “There was a problem. We had a solution.”
The reality is, Democrats are hellbent on killing any and all school choice programs because that’s what the Nevada teachers’ union wants. Democrats are more worried about losing their campaign cash cow than they are about low-income minority children losing their scholarships.
Whether or not they knew the cuts would get kids kicked out of their chosen schools – they did – Gov. Lombardo’s proposed Band-Aid should have been a no-brainer.
In fact, the money Gov. Lombardo wanted to use to save the scholarships for these kids is just sitting there, unused. No money would have come out of the general fund budget. No money would have come out of the public-school budget.
“This plan was put forward after Democrats defunded the program earlier this year, putting hundreds of children’s scholarships in peril,” noted John Burke of Better Nevada PAC.
“After a 12-hour hearing that devolved into ludicrous political theatre,” Burke continued, “the Democrats chose to leave these children high and dry, offering no solution to protect their scholarships and leaving them without funding.”
Indeed, the COVID dollars would have been a one-shot injection into the program so no kids would be harmed this school year. And the debate over the future of the program could continue. Totally reasonable.
But you can’t negotiate with terrorists.
Gov. Lombardo has tried accommodation. He’s tried reason. He’s tried compromise. But legislative Democrats continue to just spit in his eye and shout “NSEA Akbar!”
It’s time to recall the diplomats, bring in a “wartime consigliere,” take off the gloves, and call in the drones (politically-speaking, of course).
The only way these kids – and others – are going to have a fighting chance at getting a better education is if enough of these Democrat hostage-takers lose in next year’s elections.
And for the record, here are the names of the Democrats on the IFC who told some 600 low-income, mostly minority, children to drop dead…
- Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannibizzaro
- Assembly Speaker Steve “Donut Boy” Yeager
- Sen. Dallas Harris
- Sen. Dina Neal
- Sen. Rochelle Nguyen
- Sen. Marilyn Dondero Loop
- Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno
- Assemblywoman Natha Anderson
- Assemblywoman Shea Backus
- Assemblywoman Tracy Brown-May
- Assemblywoman Michelle Gorelow
- Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui
- Assemblyman Cameron “CH” Miller
- Assemblywoman Sarah Peters
- Assemblyman Howard Watts
Lock and load!
P.S. In related news, the Democrats on IFC approved yesterday an additional $331,000 for the upcoming Formula One race in Las Vegas, as well as an additional $180,000 for next year’s Super Bowl.
At $9,000 per scholarship, that money could have funded 57 Opportunity Scholarships. But not one dime extra for low-income, mostly minority children to attend the school of their choice.
Politics on the Rocks
Our upcoming “Politics on the Rocks” dinner/cocktail reception with Gov. Joe Lombardo and Congressman Mark Amodei sold out a couple of hours after going on sale yesterday morning.
But don’t worry. For those who missed out on this one, or are on the waiting list, we intend to host more of these in the future with great VIP guests from around the country.
FAMOUS LAST WORDS
“In an act of callous partisanship, today Democrats turned their back on hundreds of low-income students that our traditional school system has failed or left behind. Forcibly removing hundreds of low-income students from their schools after the school year has already begun is devastating and simply incomprehensible. My administration grieves with the hundreds of students who will be crushed by Democrats removing them from their friends, teachers, and schools, and my administration remains more committed than ever to fighting for all Nevada students.” – Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo
“After 12 hours of playing politics, @nvdems voted for hundreds of kids to lose their scholarships. For a minute, I thought @SteveYeagerNV, who claimed to care about kids, would do the right thing. Call a special session if you want to fix the program, but don’t let the kids lose their scholarships. Shame on all of you for trying to distract and force low-income kids back into failing unsafe schools.” – Valeria Gurr, American Federation for Children
“We’re incredibly disappointed in legislators who voted no against Gov. @JosephMLombardo’s proposal regarding Opportunity Scholarships. Parents, community & KIDS took the time to testify in person/phone/wrote in – only for the desire of the people to be ignored. Terrible. @nvdems chose hyper-partisan politics over low-income children and families. This is devastating news for them.” – Erin Phillips, Power2Parent Union
“I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.” – Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto after his attack on Pearl Harbor
Mr. Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, publisher of Nevada News & Views, and founder of CampaignDoctor.com. You can sign up for his conservative, Nevada-focused e-newsletter at MuthsTruths.com. His views are his own.