Philly Woman Raising Money to “Buy Pat Toomey’s Vote” on Betsy DeVos
Ever since Betsy DeVos became Donald Trump‘s nominee for Secretary of Education, 31-year-old South Philadelphia woman Katherine Fritz has, like many other Pennsylvanians, made daily phone calls to U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey‘s office to urge him to vote no. But on Wednesday, after getting through to the office became more and more difficult — in part because so many people were trying to call — Fritz got frustrated and decided on a new tactic: She wants to buy Pat Toomey’s vote.
Fritz, who spends her days between teaching at a local community college and working as a costume designer for Philadelphia theater companies, launched a GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign on Wednesday to raise $55,800, the same amount she claims that DeVos — the person whom Toomey must now judge — donated to Toomey’s campaign. (Specifics on these donations vary, but the Center for American Progress states that DeVos and her family made donations totaling more than $60,000 since 2010, the year Toomey was elected to the Senate.) Fritz raised more than $6,000 overnight.
“Like a lot of people, after the election, I was feeling pretty devastated by the amount of hate in the air,” Fritz says. “I was devastated that someone who had been espousing such terrible, hateful rhetoric against women, Muslims, immigrants, [and] the disabled had won. And I found myself newly motivated and also embarrassed that I hadn’t done more before.”
Fritz set her sights on DeVos after watching the entirety of the latter’s confirmation hearing. While most of the uproar was over DeVos’s comments on guns in schools, in which she invoked the now-infamous “potential grizzlies” argument, Fritz says that her biggest concern was over DeVos’s back-and-forth with Sen. Al Franken over DeVos’s understanding (or lack thereof) about the difference in educationspeak between growth and proficiency.
“That’s when I really started to shudder,” Fritz remembers. “I mean, I’m an adjunct professor at a community college in the suburbs, and even I know the difference between those terms.”
Of course, Fritz isn’t really going to give any of the money raised to Toomey. It’s all a bit of a joke, a stunt, and the funds will be split evenly between nonprofits Camp Sojourner, the Pennsylvania Arts Education Network, and the Children’s Literacy Initiative.
This isn’t Fritz’s first foray into using the internet to make a point in a very tongue-in-cheek way. She’s also behind Ladypockets, a popular blog that publishes parodies of women’s fashion magazines.
But for now, her focus is on Toomey and DeVos.
“Yes, it’s a joke,” says Fritz. “But if I had $55,800 to blow, I guess I would try to buy his vote to get someone more qualified. It’s that important.”
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