Dear Shelley Moore Capito,

Dear Senator Capito,

I’ve called your office more times during the past couple of weeks than I have called any politician’s office in my entire life. You see, I’m worried about your intentions.

Your job as a senator requires you to make decisions in the best interest of me and the other 1.8 million people who live in West Virginia.

You aren’t doing that.

I saw the recent photo of you and  President Trump with a caption that said together you will bring back jobs for coal miners. That’s a lie, and you know it. There are a variety of reasons coal can no longer be the backbone of West Virginia’s economy, and your support of environmental deregulation at the risk of harming state residents won’t fix it. (http://fortune.com/2016/07/20/why-donald-trump-wont-bring-coal-jobs-back-to-west-virginia/). But you realize many or your constituents don’t want to read or hear the facts. They just want their politicians to fix something that is permanently broken. So unless you have a plan to find new jobs for former coal miners, and I’ve seen nothing of the sort, you are lying. And you are voting against the best interest of unemployed coal miners because they don’t want to hear that life as they know it has changed. Apparently, their vote is more important to you than their health is.

This same political pandering must be why you aren’t questioning Trump’s executive order on immigrants and refugees. After all, I’ve seen your written response to those who questioned your support. You defended yourself by saying that Trump is acting in the interest of national security. It’s not about national security. It’s about rhetoric and feeding into the hate that spurred Trump’s campaign. And you know it. His actions certainly aren’t based in fact.  Experts in homeland security have expressed concern about his order:  http://www.npr.org/2017/01/31/512592776/will-trumps-refugee-order-reduce-terror-threats-in-the-u-s. But many West Virginians don’t understand immigration or the extreme vetting that refugees must already endure. They seem to think that being Muslim is practically a crime and use this to justify their distrust and even hate while calling themselves good Christians.  But you don’t care if their opinions aren’t based in reality, and you choose to feed their fears anyway. I thought your job is to protect West Virginians regardless of their misguided beliefs. If so, you’re failing.

Which brings me to the issue that is probably bothering me the most: your plan to vote to confirm Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. Ms. DeVos doesn’t have a degree in education, has no experience working in a school environment, never attended a public school or state university, sent all four of her children to private schools, and supports for-profit education. No matter how I look at this situation, I cannot understand how you could believe that putting her at the helm of our nation’s public education system is good for the Mountain State. Let’s face it, West Virginia is already struggling with educating our young people. During the 2015-2016 school year, 51% of our state’s high school juniors scored below the reading proficiency level, and 79% of them scored below the math proficiency level. Twelve percent of our adult population hasn’t even graduated from high school. Let me repeat that, more than 10% of our adult population hasn’t even graduated from high school!

Please explain how Betsy DeVos, a woman with no education experience, will be able to help West Virginia. Since we live in such a poor and rural state, I certainly can’t imagine how her passion for private schools will help.

I hate to be cynical, but do you actually like having an under-educated constituency? Do you believe that the less educated we are, the more gullible we will be? I certainly hope this isn’t true, but since you have a pattern of voting in ways that support your constituents often misguided beliefs and against their best interests, I find myself wondering.

Even more importantly, I’d also like to prove myself wrong. I ‘d like you to show me that you aren’t making decisions because they are popular instead of being right.

That is, after all, what we mothers have often told our children to do.

Maybe it’s time to start behaving in the same manner.

Sincerely,

 

Trina Bartlett

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About Trina Bartlett

I live in the Eastern Panhandle of WV, with one dog, two cats, a daughter in high school, a son starting his latest adventures at West Virginia University and a husband who works strange hours. When I'm not working as a director at a nonprofit social service organization or being a mom, I can generally be found riding my bike, walking my dog and stirring things up.

Posted on February 4, 2017, in current affairs, News, people, perspective, Politics and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 42 Comments.

  1. Rebecca Pugh O'Neil

    Thanks Trina – you put it very clearly. I especially appreciate your remarks about DeVos.

  2. Your entire letter is spot on! Thank you for saying what many of us are thinking.

  3. I live in Ohio; but, was born and raised in West Virginia and I couldn’t have said it any better.

  4. OMG, so perfectly stated! Thank you!

  5. I only hope Capito reads it

  6. If only Captio cared one small whit about you or any regular citizen of West Virginia thinks. She does not. You are not rich enough for her to hear you. You seem to care about others too much for her to hear you. You are not radically to the far right enough for her to hear you. Surely we can do better than to continue to elect Republican and Democrats who might as well be Republicans to bury us even further into the ground.

  7. Absolutely spot on!

    BRAVO TRINA!!

  8. Couldn’t have said it better, great West Virginian. Afraid fell on deft ears. She is a follower not a leader, sad to say. Poor state but our kids deserve better. Your R Right coal will never be back like it was, it’s not the regulation now it’s natural gas. Power plants switched to gas will never turn plants back to coal. All new plants in future will never build coal fired plants. She knows this! In closing be passionate for children and teachers of WV.

  9. while it’s true that coal will never be king again, I believe that it should still hold a part in supplying energy to our country along with solar, wind, natural gas. Eventually it will become a part of history, just not yet.

  10. Thank you for posting this.

  11. Hmmmmm, my sentiments and reaction to Ms. Capito as well. My calls are in a digital trash can. I detest the idea of Devos “leading” our education system which can and does work with help. Interesting that my native WV son attended our public schools, attended our state university and is now conducting his post doctoral in Biology researching carbon impact on environment. How topical…

  12. Please vote against Devos.

  13. I am a Glenville graduate and a retired teacher in VA. I know that all teachers and instruction assistants must be highly qualified, yet the elected POTUS does not want the Secretary of Education for the U.S. to be highly qualified. I just don’t get it.

  14. Trina is so right, especially about Devos. She’ll be a train wreck as Secretary of Education.

    • I’m not kidding when I say I’m beginning to wonder if some of the political elite like their constituents to be uneducated. I don’t know why I’m still shocked that people will believe anything that justifies their point of view and disregard anything that doesn’t.

  15. I thank you for saying it so clearly. I know Senator Capito won’t hear you, unfortunately. While in Washington doing advocacy work on behalf of the National MS Society, I had the “pleasure” of meeting Ms. Capito when she was still a Congresswoman and was dismayed to see that the walls of her office were covered with pictures and letters her father, the disgraced former Governor Arch Moore, had received during his career, including one from Richard Nixon. I hope in 4 years when the Senator’s term is up, the Democratic Party can come up with a strong candidate to defeat her.

    • I’ve begun to believe all the really well intended people want to stay out of politics. The ones I’ve known personally who have run were so beaten up by the process and the money behind it.

  16. I sincerely appreciate your comments about Ms. Capito’s voting record and particularly on the issue of Ms. DeVos. While I grew up my whole life in private school in Charleston (I’ll let you take a guess which one), I never understood how such a big percentage of our population could seemingly be perpetually undereducated (my extended family included). I refused to believe there was something in the genes or drinking water that kept West Virginians unable to achieve the minimum standards of high school education, and now that I’ve left for greener pastures, I know the real culprit: our school systems simply don’t have the resources to keep students afloat. Too many fall through the cracks year after year, and it’s created a cycle of generational poverty, undereducation, malnutrition, and inequality. Many students don’t even realize they’re capable of achievement, just like their parents before them.

    I don’t think Ms. DeVos has any intention of solving these issues for us, and I think you for raising your voice.

    • I think there are so many people who grow up in the world created by their parents – whether it is with all the resources they need or with few if any of the resources they need to not only get a good education but to better understand how we a re all products of our environment. The one resource all of us should have equal access to is a good education – regardless of our social or financial status.

  17. Thank you for so clearly articulating these sentiments. It felt validating to read what I’ve been feeling so clearly stated.

  18. Your post puts into words how many of us West Virginians feel. Good job?

  19. Someone posted this on Facebook… and I thought it was interesting: “I’ve posted this before…and I don’t want to belabor it because it’s just conjecture on my part. I think she will find it difficult to publicly oppose Trump. For those who aren’t familiar with her father, Arch Moore, you might want to look him up. He was a populist Republican, flamboyant speaker, his years as WV governor were marked with some controversy, and he served several years in prison after pleading guilty to extortion charges, of which he later said he was innocent, maintaining that position until his death. For me there’s a similarity here. I am not saying I am right in this, but if so…she might feel a compelling tendency to want to support Trump, even more so when he’s being criticized and attacked. Don’t get me wrong, I wonder how many of us, at any age, are completely free of the influence of our parents, good or bad. I know I continue to be, to a degree, at nearly 69 years of age. For me, though, it’s one explanation for why she sounds so devoted to Trump now, even after his behavior during the election campaign and during his first two weeks in office. I will be surprised if she ever counters him in a significant way.”

  20. Well said! I too, for the first time in my life, have called and emailed Shelly Moore Capito’s office to urge her to not vote for Betsy Devon. I agree with you, Ms. Capito is ignoring the wants of the people of WV and clearly has her own agenda. Thank you for expressing your views and statistics.

  21. im so glad you wrote that letter its just to bad that people once in office doesnot matter the the people want from the assholes that we elect same bullshit every four years all you hear is lies liesl and more bullshit how i am the man or women for you to help you and our wonderful state so sick of the process thanx again

  22. Brenda Hermanson

    Thank you for stating all these facts so eloquently. You have expressed my feelings in ways that I have been struggling to convey. If only she will listen.

  23. Trina, I moved to Bluefield when I was 11 then on to Charleston. I then moved to Pittsburgh, but have fond memories of WV. By the way, I, too am an OU grad! Go Bobcats!!! Your letter is spot on. I’m in GA now and wish that our Senators would have had a spine and stood to Trump and voted “no”

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