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Senate Education Committee Gets Three New Members, Including Va.'s Tim Kaine

By Andrew Ujifusa — January 05, 2017 2 min read
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The new roster for the Senate education committee is set for the 115th Congress. There isn’t a huge amount of turnover, but there are two newly elected senators who will join the committee, and a senator who’s newly prominent thanks to the 2016 race.

• Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va. Kaine, of course, was the Democratic vice presidential nominee in the most recent election. On the campaign trail, he promoted the values embodied by school desegregation and Brown v. Board of Education. His wife, Anne Holton, was previously Virginia’s education secretary (a different role than the job of chief state school officer), and had her own personal story regarding desegregation in education.

He’s been a notable advocate for career and technical education during his time in Congress, and he was part of a successful push to include career and technical education as a “core subject” in the Every Student Succeeds Act. He’s also backed the teaching of “safe relationships” to students as a means of preventing sexual assault.

• Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind. Young, who previously served in the House, beat out former Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh for the open Indiana Senate seat in the November election. Like many Republicans, Young gives the federal role in education the side eye, stating on his campaign website: “An unelected bureaucrat in Washington is in no way more prepared to make education decisions than local and state governments. A one-size-fitS-all approach does not set up our children for success.”

In the House, he introduced legislation with Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., that was designed to create more student loan options in higher education and reduce debt in higher education. Young’s also denounced Washington’s “stranglehold” on higher education financing.

• Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H. The former New Hampshire governor, Hassan beat out incumbent GOP Sen. Kelly Ayotte in November.

Hassan was the first governor who vetoed a bill to repeal the Common Core State Standards, which were politically controversial in the Granite State. Before ESSA became law, she was also critical of the No Child Left Behind Act and the NCLB waivers provided by President Barack Obama’s administration. During Hassan’s tenure as governor, New Hampshire also embarked on a pilot to test performance assessments.

There are now 12 Republicans and 11 Democrats on the committee. CORRECTION: Thanks to Monty Neill for pointing out that our initial list of Democrats didn’t include Murray. Here’s the full roster:


Sen. Lamar Alexander, Tenn.
Sen. Mike Enzi, Wyo.
Sen. Richard Burr, N.C.
Sen. Johnny Isakson, Ga.
Sen. Rand Paul, Ky.
Sen. Susan Collins, Maine
Sen. Bill Cassidy, La.
Sen. Todd Young, Ind.
Sen. Orrin Hatch, Utah
Sen. Pat Roberts, Kan.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Alaska
Sen. Tim Scott, S.C.


Sen. Patty Murray, Wash.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, Vt.
Sen. Bob Casey, Penn.
Sen. Al Franken, Minn.
Sen. Michael Bennet, Colo.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, R.I.
Sen. Tammy Baldwin, Wisc.
Sen. Chris Murphy, Conn.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Mass.
Sen. Tim Kaine, Va.
Sen. Maggie Hassan, N.H.

Alexander and Murray will continue in their respective roles as committee chairman and ranking member. Alexander has expressed a desire to work on reauthorizing the Higher Education Act in the next Congress. But Alexander and other members of the education committee, which also deals with health care matters, will have their hands full devising a replacement for the Affordable Care Act.

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