AZ lawmaker who believes Earth 6,000 years old leads education panel

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.”

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