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Virginia Foxx’s Focus on Antisemitism on College Campuses Has Raised Her Profile

Virginia Foxx has been a Republican congresswoman from North Carolina for almost 20 years. Over the last year, her campaign against antisemitism on college campuses, carried out as chairwoman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, has raised her profile.

In her recent work, Ms. Foxx says she is guided by her revulsion at discrimination of any kind, and by the teachings of her Baptist church. Education has been a theme of her life.

Ms. Foxx, 80, grew up in a rural part of her district. She often speaks about how her childhood was spent living in houses without running water or electricity.

She worked her way through college and emerged with a doctorate in education. She was president of Mayland Community College, an experience that some people say may account for her antipathy toward elite schools.

“She’s sharp,” said Peter Lake, director of the Center for Excellence in Higher Education Law and Policy at the Stetson University College of Law. “There’s no question that she has political savvy.”

In a purple state, Ms. Foxx represents a solidly Republican district, and she is known for her blunt conservative politics, including on education.

She supports school choice, including vouchers, and for-profit institutions. She has said she has “little tolerance” for students who graduate from college with large student loan debt. She opposes diversity, equity and inclusion programs, saying they do not promote merit, and she is against allowing trans women to compete on women’s teams in college sports.

She championed a “Parents’ Bill of Rights,” which Democrats said would ban books but which she said would expose progressive politics in the classroom.

And she called it a “hoax” to say that Matthew Shepard, a University of Wyoming student, was killed because he was gay. After an outcry, she apologized to his mother.

She attributes her politics to her pulled-herself-up-by-her-bootstraps life. “Because we’ve made it under the most difficult circumstances — I mean extremely difficult circumstances,” she said, speaking of herself and her husband. “We didn’t need a government handout to make us successful.”

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