Arizona State Sen. Sylvia Allen (R-Snowflake), a creationist, has been named chairwoman of the Senate Education Committee. Senate President Andy Biggs (R-Gilbert) appointed her late last December.
According to the Arizona Republic, Allen is a controversial figure in the legislature. The senator, who is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, said in 2009 that she believes God created the world 6,000 years prior.
In 2013, she used her public Facebook page to posit that the government had released poisonous chemtrails over her constituency.
“[W]e just don’t want to believe that our government would do anything terrible to us. Well, just a few examples, the IRS attack on the Tea Party, Benghazi, wire taping (sic), Fast and Furious just to name a few and we think that they would not manipulate our weather?” Allen wrote. She achieved further infamy last year for suggesting the legislature pass a law requiring church attendance in the state.
As chair of the education committee, Allen will have significant influence over which bills pass to a full floor vote. In a public statement, she said she intends to “highlight the incredible teachers who are the reason for our children’s success.”