Congressman Doug LaMalfa talks with the Cottonwood Creek Charter School Student Council about school choice. Photo submitted

LaMalfa kicks off School Choice Week

Congressman Doug LaMalfa talks with the Cottonwood Creek Charter School Student Council about school choice. Photo submitted

District 1 Congressman Doug LaMalfa issued this statement Friday, Jan. 28.

This week families and students across the nation celebrate School Choice Week. I recognize the hard work that involved parents make for their children and celebrate all the different opportunities students have for finding the best educational fit for them. As a parent and a congressman, I believe parents know better than government when it comes to their child’s wellbeing and should be involved in what materials and values are being taught in the classroom.

To kick off School Choice Week, I visited the Cottonwood Creek Charter School and the Achieve Charter School in Chico to speak to middle and elementary school students about school choice and it being an American value, what it is like to be a congressman, and thoughts about Congress and governing. It was so encouraging to hear from young students about what ideas they have for laws, and their excitement on topics that are important to them. I appreciated seeing alternative ways public funding can be used to create more competitiveness and innovation in education.

Parents’ roles in their child’s education is more important now than ever — Education Secretary Cardona has colluded with private parties to get the FBI to investigate concerned parents, orchestrated the silence of millions of parents concerned about curriculum and worked with the National School Boards Association to brand concerned and involved people as “domestic terrorists.” We as parents cannot stand by and be vilified for doing what’s best for our children. It is unacceptable that the highest education official in the country would collude to strip away parents’ rights and limit their voice regarding their children. I have joined my Republican colleagues in calling on President Biden to fire Secretary Cardona. His actions have shown that he is unfit for the job.

In Congress I have worked diligently to protect the rights of parents in schools, ensure students are not taught inappropriate material and provide financial opportunities for families to choose non-traditional public schooling. I am a cosponsor of the Education Freedom Scholarships and Opportunity Act. This bill awards tax credits to encourage families and businesses to donate to nonprofit scholarship funds, expanding the financial resources available to middle- and lower-income students and giving them educational opportunities that they may not have been able to afford otherwise. Children should not be limited by their income or zip code. All children deserve an opportunity for quality education.

I also toured the completion of the $108 million expansion of the Shasta-Tehama-Trinity Joint Community College District. Their Shasta College Campus recently completed construction of a Veteran Center Building that provides veteran services, a Computer Information Building that expands online and hybrid class options, and major renovations to the campus’s library. I stopped by Shasta College’s new Fire Academy, meeting the new students on their 16-week program to become firefighters. The facility also provides emergency training for police and fire vehicle training. The center can be used during emergencies by CalFire and others as well. The Community Colleges of California are a great option for students to reduce the cost of a quality higher education and obtain technical and vocational skills close to home. I support their work — I was a graduate of Butte College before attending Cal Poly. While many four-year university programs continue to increase in cost dramatically, community college continues to be a great option for many college-bound students. I was pleased to see the great advancements made at Shasta College and their expansion campus in Tehama County with more planned there as well.

Sneaky election takeover legislation 
In Washington, D.C. this year we’ve seen what the priorities are of the majority. Democrats have already made rapid steps to takeover elections and overthrow our voting process. They gutted an unrelated NASA bill and hastily amended in over 700 pages of changes to how states administer elections. This bill, which passed in the House but has stalled in the Senate, would have forced states to legalize ballot harvesting, transformed the office of the U.S. Attorney General into an unelected “Elections Czar” with the power to change state elections laws, and, incredibly, given billions of dollars in public funds to fund US House of Representatives political campaigns.

Thanks to its 6:1 matching fund for contributions under $200, Speaker Pelosi would have received up to $7.2 million in public funds for her reelection campaign. Democrats also attempted to destroy the Senate Filibuster, which has been used from the early days of our Republic to bring bipartisanship to the Senate process and protect the American people from having their laws rapidly overturned every time there is a transition of power. For reference, Democrats had no problem with the filibuster last year — in fact, 2020 was a record-breaking year when Democrats used the filibuster 328 times to block then-President Trump and then-Senate Majority Leader McConnell. Thankfully, for now, the Senate has protected our election process by voting down an election overhaul bill and reaffirming the checks and balances provided by the Senate Filibuster. We cannot let up now, we must continue fighting to preserve our republic and stop the radical nationalization of our election process.

Honoring Service Academy nominees 
I had the privilege of nominating 16 northern California students as candidates to the United States Service Academies. The U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy and the U.S. Merchant Marines Academy each require a Congressional nomination in order to attend. The nominees were recommended by a committee of community leaders and veterans from various branches of the military after interviewing and carefully considering the academic and leadership backgrounds of each student. Thank you to our board members who took time out of their personal schedules to help carefully evaluate applicant materials and conduct these interviews, they played a critical role in ensuring this process was accomplished with success. Academy officials will begin announcing appointments later this month. The honor of attending a service academy comes with an obligation and commitment to serve in the military upon graduation. I applaud these outstanding students’ commitment to serving their country and I wish them all the best in their future endeavors.