In the wake of November’s midterm elections, Congresswoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) was appointed this past January as Chair of the House Subcommittee on Higher Education, Lifelong Learning, and Competitiveness. She takes over from Congressman Rubén Hinojosa (D-TX), who chaired the subcommittee during the 111th Congress. Though she is undoubtedly qualified to chair the committee, some of her recent comments indicate that she may pose serious resistance to the President’s educational goals.
Congresswoman Fox’s professional background fits nicely with this position. She holds a Doctorate of Education from UNC-Greensboro and, prior to launching her legislative career, held both faculty and administrative positions at Appalachian State University. She also served as President of and, later, consultant to Mayland Community College (NC) before entering the North Carolina Senate in 1994. In addition to her recent appointment and her education credentials, Foxx is a member of the powerful House Rules Committee, and she previously gained notoriety in 2009 during House debate over the Matthew Shepard Act, when she referred to the characterization of Shepard’s murder as a hate crime as a “hoax” (a statement that she retracted soon afterward).