Rep. Dave Loebsack, an Iowan who is a major champion of rural schools, has been tapped to serve as the top Democrat on the House subcommittee that deals with K-12 policy.
Loebsack, who was first elected to Congress in 2007 as part of a big, Democratic wave, has introduced a handful of bills to lend a hand to schools in remote locations, including the “Schools of the Future” Act, which would provide three- to five-year grants for school districts to beef up technology-based courses and teaching strategies. Another Loebsack bill would seek to promote “service learning,” in which students gain academic skills through volunteer and other community work. And a third, the Working to Encourage Community Action and Responsibility in Education (or WE CARE) Act, would call on districts to assess non-academic factors that have an impact on student learning and address them. Check out his bills here.
Loebsack is also the co-chairman of the Rural Education Caucus. Prior to being elected to Congress, Loebsack was an educator himself, teaching political science at Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa. And his wife, Terry, is a retired teacher.
Loebsack grew up in poverty and worked as a high school janitor to cover the cost of college, according to The Almanac of American Politics. And he “offsets his liberal leanings by seeking out similarly pragmatic Republicans on defense, budget, and health care issues,” The Almanac says.
Loebsack replaces Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y., who assumed the ranking member role on the subcommittee only recently. Before that, the position was held by Rep. Rob Andrews, D-N.J., who recently left Congress to take a job at a Philadelphia law firm. At the time of his resignation, Andrews was facing an ethics investigation regarding the potential improper use of campaign funds.