Politico reports on the new chair of the House Education and Workforce Committee:

FOXX IN THE HOUSE: Virginia Foxx wants to dismantle the Education Department and erase Barack Obama’s education legacy – and she’s poised to become one of the Hill’s power players with the authority to do that. The 73-year-old GOP lawmaker and former community college president is poised to assume the leadership of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, and she wants to veer far away from what she regards as Obama’s wrongheaded approach. “I’m going to push to diminish the role of the federal government in everything it’s in that isn’t in the Constitution,” Foxx said in an interview in her district in North Carolina. “That’s education, health care. All the things that the federal government does that it should not be doing. I’m happy to diminish its role.”

– Foxx’s small-government views are rooted in the Blue Ridge Mountains in a slice of Appalachia where she grew up without power and running water and began working as a weaver to help support her family at age 12 – experiences that convinced her it’s an individual’s hard work, and not federal programs, that lead to success. She is a strong supporter of school choice as President-elect Donald Trump pushes his $20 billion school choice plan emphasizing vouchers. Foxx would love to dismantle the federal Education Department, but is realistic enough to acknowledge that that is probably unlikely in the near term. “I definitely don’t think the Department of Education has any business doing all the things that it’s doing,” she said, “but I don’t think you do it overnight. I think you have to devolve it over time.”

– Foxx remembers a time when community members like her father went “into the wilds” to gather plants to sell in New York to make ends meet. Her district is more prosperous now because of tourism, but it’s still deeply conservative with an occasional Confederate flag flying in the wind. As she walked down the main street of West Jefferson, N.C., one recent day to line up for the annual Christmas parade, she greeted many people by name who cheerfully congratulated her – and the president-elect – on Election Day wins.

Politico also reports that Arne Duncan will join Bill Bennett and Rod Paige at Jeb Bush’s education reform conference, where they will no doubt agree on the progress they have made in promoting charters and school choice and testing.