Protesters outside Senator Heller's office urge vote against Betsy DeVos
More than 250 protesters spent Sunday afternoon outside Senator Heller's office in downtown Reno to urge him to vote against Betsy DeVos as the Secretary of Education.
Heller could be the deciding vote on DeVos' confirmation. The senator announced last week his support of DeVos as education secretary.
DeVos has become one of the most controversial cabinet picks due to her performance at a Senate confirmation hearing last month, including her answers to questions on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and "proficiency versus growth."
Parent Amanda Stafford of Reno said, "She doesn't get it because she hasn't been there. She's never been in public education; her kids didn't go to public education."
"We're trying to remind him that there's a voice of his constituents back here in Nevada. We're here to tell him we don't support his vote for Betsy Devos. He's got an opportunity between now until tomorrow morning 6:30 Washington time to change his mind and do the right thing," said Chip Evans of Indivisible RENO/The Chip Evans show.
One more Republican could prevent DeVos from being confirmed. There are 48 Democrats and two Republicans (Sen. Susan Collins and Sen. Lisa Murkowski) who say they plan to vote against her, meaning she stands at a deadlock at 50-50.
If the tally of legislators does come to a tie, Vice President Mike Pence will cast his vote in favor of DeVos.
Complaints about constituents having a hard time reaching Sen. Heller was also pointed out at the demonstration. Protesters are upset that they have not been able to register their complaints about DeVos via phone.
Sarah Mahler of Reno said, "We're also upset with Dean Heller's phone lines being busy. He's non-responsive. I've lived her close to twenty years I've never seen Dean Heller."
A spokesman for the senator released a statement in response.
“Senator Heller always values the opportunity to hear directly from the people he represents, and he welcomes their feedback because these issues are critical to Nevadans. Regardless of who’s in the White House, the Senator will always be listening to the voices of Nevadans,” said Neal Patel, spokesman for Senator Dean Heller.
Heller also tweeted a response, citing "heavy call volumes in all our offices," and said he would have the Senate's Sergeant at Arms look into the issue.
The final vote is expected Monday, February 6th.