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Hundreds gather in Fort Collins Saturday to protest Betsy DeVos


Donald Trump has selected Michigan Republican, Betsy DeVos, for Secretary of Education. Here is what we know about her. USA TODAY NETWORK

Another day, another protest that drew a significantly larger-than-expected crowd.

Hundreds of people gathered at Fort Collins’ Rolland Moore Park Saturday morning to protest Betsy DeVos, President Donald Trump’s pick for U.S. Secretary of Education who could be confirmed for the position on Monday. Attendees urged U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner to vote against her, citing her lack of experience and support of charter schools and privatized education.

Scores of marchers lined the sidewalk along Shields Street, from the park’s main entrance to the office park a quarter-mile away that houses Gardner’s Fort Collins office.

Organized by the Poudre Education Association, the local teacher’s union, fewer than 200 people said they planned to attend the rally, according to the event’s Facebook group. That number swelled significantly.

Protesters chanted “Hey hey, ho ho, Betsy DeVos has got to go,” and “this is was democracy looks like,” occasionally eliciting supportive honks from passing vehicles.

Two Republican senators last week vowed to vote against DeVos, meaning she could be one swing vote away from being rejected as secretary of education. The political calculus and potential rejection has been the subject of discussion in recent weeks.

Saturday’s demonstration also came on the heels of Tuesday’s march that denounced Trump’s travel ban and advocated in support of area Muslims and immigrants. No more than 1,000 people were anticipated for that march — an estimated 2,500 turned out.

That’s in addition to the enormous crowd at the Women’s March on Denver Jan. 21 that shattered attendance expectations.

Gardner’s office alone received 22,000 calls in January and 86,000 pieces of mail encouraging the Colorado Republican to do everything from repeal the Affordable Care Act to vote against President Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees, Alex Siciliano , a Washington, D.C.-based spokesperson for Gardner, said last week.

He didn’t have a comparison number for phone calls available, but the mail quantity quadrupled the monthly average of Gardner’s first two years in the Senate, the Coloradoan reported previously.

Don’t expect demonstration fever to simmer down anytime soon — a pro-Planned Parenthood rally is slated for Feb. 11 in Fort Collins and already has hundreds of people who plan on attending.

Numerous other marches, petitions and rallies are reportedly in the works, the result of groups spurred by Trump’s election and events happening both on a local and national level.

Follow reporter Jason Pohl on Twitter: @pohl_jason. 

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