Ricketts announced that he’s appointing conspiracy-theory loving anti-vaxxer (and anti- everything, really) Kirk Penner of Aurora to the State Board of Education vacancy for district 5. Some of Penner’s not yet deleted tweets are below. This is the kind of person who is going to be making decisions about the education of kids in this state. Penner’s selection just shows how little the governor cares about education (and that he is perfectly willing to appoint extremists to every position in the state, which is no surprise coming from someone who had an actual Nazi running his re-election campaign). Go ahead and fill the state board of education with people who can’t even tie their shoes. Because education doesn’t matter here.
When announcing the appointment, none of the other local journalists bothered to mention Penner’s extremist views. Either they did not do the bare minimum research on this guy, or they saw that he was an extremist and a conspiracy theorist and decided it wasn’t important enough to mention. It wasn’t until Seeing Red Nebraska pointed out this guy’s extremist views that the other local press decided to bring it up. Of course by then Penner’s Twitter account was already suspended, supposedly because of an old goose hunting pic and not because of the antisemitic, anti-trans, anti-science batshit tweets that are *still* up on his account. (His Twitter account has already been reinstated)
As we know, the Nebraska Democratic Party will do absolutely nothing to stand up to this so it is going to be up to us to raise hell. Let’s be honest – nothing we say or do will get this guy removed from the State Board of Education. However, every minute that he is in that position when he isn’t being called out, criticized, and held responsible for his extremist views lends him legitimacy at election time. Call your Senator, call the Governor, call the other members of the State Board of Ed, write letters to the editor. There is no point in voting for Democrats if they won’t put forth the least effort to stand up to fascism and it’s time to let them know that. Find your Senator here. Email Governor Ricketts at Pete.email@example.com or at the phone numbers and contact form listed here. You can reach Ricketts’s “West Central Office” at firstname.lastname@example.org . Email the Nebraska Democratic Party at email@example.com .
You can see some of Penner’s tweets below: