When 2018 comes, I will not be voting for Deb Fischer for U.S. Senate. To be honest, I did not vote for Fischer in 2012 – not in the primary and not in the general election. However, this time I will be donating money to Fischer’s opponent, telling everyone I know not to vote for Fischer, and voting for Fischer’s opponent.
Here are some reasons why:
- Fischer voted to confirm Jeff Sessions as U.S. Attorney General. Sessions was touted as a civil rights champion by ads aired by the Judicial Crisis Network. In reality, at Sessions’ failed judicial confirmation hearing in 1986, testimony was presented that “Sessions had criticized civil rights groups as ‘un-American’ and ‘Communist-inspired’ and accused them of trying to ‘force civil rights down the throats of people.’ He also dubbed a white civil rights attorney a ‘disgrace to his race,’ according to a witness, and reportedly called a black lawyer in his office ‘boy.’ In his confirmation hearing, he admitted to referring to the Voting Rights Act as ‘a piece of intrusive legislation,’ and he later opposed efforts to update the landmark law. I fail to see how Sessions can effectively protect our civil rights and voting rights, duties of the U.S Attorney General.
- Fischer voted to censure Senator Elizabeth Warren for attempting to read a letter from Coretta Scott King, criticizing Jeff Sessions during his failed 1986 judicial confirmation hearing. Fischer’s vote blocked Senator Warren from further debate on the Sessions’ confirmation. During later debate, four white male Senators were allowed to read that same letter. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell invoked Senate Rule XIX, which states that: “No Senator in debate shall, directly or indirectly, by any form of words impute to another Senator or to other Senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a Senator.” This rule was passed in 1902 after a disagreement in the Senate resulted in a fistfight. It was passed to prevent Senators from calling each others names on the Senate floor and stifling debate – the rule was not passed to cover a situation where the Senate is working in their “advice and consent” role and debating the character of a Senator seeking confirmation as U.S. Attorney General. This was a purely political vote to silence a woman Senator quoting a female African-American civil rights leader during Black History Month.
- Fischer voted to confirm Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. DeVos is a proponent of school vouchers and charter schools. Her work with the underperforming charter schools of Detroit is informing. Nebraska is a public education state, with a provision in our state constitution stating: “The Legislature shall provide for the free instruction in the common schools of this state of all persons between the ages of five and twenty-one years.” Article VII, Section 1. Fischer stated: “I have received assurances from [DeVos] in writing that the Department of Education will not impose new federal mandates related to vouchers on our schools.” I am doubtful, but we shall see.
- Fischer and her family lease federal grazing land at a greatly discounted rate – Democrats say they have paid about a quarter of a million dollars in grazing fees for a benefit of $2.9 million. I do not have an objection to Fischer receiving this benefit. I do object to her receiving this financial benefit and turning around to deny welfare benefits to other individuals and to oppose all aspects of the Affordable Care Act (I wonder if she realizes that she and her staff are required to buy their health insurance through the ACA exchanges, although they did get a special exemption to get more favorable rates.).
- Fischer voted to confirm Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State. Tillerson was the former CEO of Exon Oil, a company known to fund climate change denial. Tillerson also has personal and professional conflicts of interest.
Please note – I am a third generation Nebraskan who grew up and lived in the 3rd Congressional District and now lives in the 1st Congressional District. I wouldn’t want my opinions discounted as those of an outsider, an accusation made by Ben Sasse about phone calls he received.
The picture at the top of this page is a screen shot from Fischer’s Wikipedia page earlier today. It has since been changed.
And on Day 25 in the Nebraska Unicameral – still no permanent rules. Some people think they are making progress. I think we are in for many, many more days of no movement and new poems from Senator Ernie Chambers.