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Toma Criticizes Hobbs’ Veto of Bill Targeting Education on Communism’s Atrocities

Governor Katie Hobbs (Credits: Katie Hobbs)

On Wednesday, Arizona’s House Speaker Ben Toma publicly criticized Governor Katie Hobbs for her decision to veto HB 2629, a bill Toma introduced with the aim of educating students on the history of communist regimes and commemorating the victims of communism.

Toma, who has personal experience living under the communist regime in Romania, expressed that Hobbs’ veto was not only disappointing but also deeply personal to him.

He highlighted the grim legacy of communism, characterized by widespread death, oppression, and economic hardship, emphasizing the importance of teaching this history to ensure that such atrocities are neither forgotten nor repeated.

Arizona Governor Hobbes (Credits: The New York Times)

Toma voiced concerns over the growing politicization of historical education, stressing that understanding the brutal realities of communism should transcend partisan debates.

He argued that ensuring students become knowledgeable, critical thinkers who value their freedoms is essential. However, he expressed doubt in the governor’s administration about accurately addressing the legacy of communism in the educational curriculum.

HB 2629 sought to establish November 7 as Victims of Communism Day in Arizona, a recognition already made by several states. It aimed to enhance students’ understanding of the historical impact of communist regimes by mandating a minimum of 45 minutes of classroom instruction on the topic in American government courses for high school students.

Democrat Katie Hobbs (Credits: NBC News)

The curriculum was to cover notorious figures such as Mao Zedong, Joseph Stalin, and Fidel Castro, among others, and discuss the various forms of suffering endured by the victims, including poverty, starvation, forced migration, lethal violence, and suppression of free speech.

Toma’s statement reflects a deep commitment to ensuring that the lessons of the past are learned, to honor the memory of those who suffered under communism, and to safeguard the liberties treasured by future generations. Despite the setback of the veto, the debate around the bill highlights the ongoing conversation about how history is taught and remembered in schools.

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