An Arizona lawmaker who believes the Earth is 6,000 years old is the new chairwoman of the state Senate committee that oversees education-related legislation.
Republican Sen. Sylvia Allen of Snowflake has a gift for going viral with statements that would be edited out of most school textbooks:
- Buying into conspiracy theories surrounding "chemtrails" -- exhaust from aircraft -- and suggesting the government is manipulating the weather.
- Sharing her opinion that church attendance should be mandatory, during a legislative debate on whether concealed weapons should be allowed in public buildings (she voted for the bill).
- Declaring the Earth "has been here 6,000 years," during a debate over allowing access to public lands for mining and other purposes.
Senate President Andy Biggs on Monday named Allen to lead a committee that acts as a gatekeeper for education-related legislation, such as Common Core and spending. Allen succeeds Sen. Kelli Ward, who resigned last week to run full-time in next year's GOP primary against Sen. John. McCain.
"She understands what Arizona students and parents need in our education system," Biggs said in a prepared statement. "She is a very experienced legislator and I know she will do a wonderful job."
Allen said her goal is "to highlight the incredible teachers who are the reason for our children's success. I also want to focus on parents' responsibility in their children's education."