LOS ANGELES – She may have shot to international stardom as the ditsy Dionne Davenport in the 1995 hit “Clueless,” but when it comes to her personal political convictions, Stacey Dash knows exactly what she wants to say.
Last week, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal insisted that federal officials and Attorney General Eric Holder drop their lawsuit challenging his state’s voucher system, which seeks to block Louisiana from issuing new tuition vouchers in some districts still under desegregation orders. As it stands, the program enables around 8,000 Louisiana students from low-income families in school districts graded C, D or F to use public money to attend private schools, costing the state about $45 million per year.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a Republican who has advocated for education reform efforts, has joined Jindal in demanding the Justice Department back down – and now Dash is lending her celebrity voice to the hot-button topic.
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“I just think it’s absurd. The natural evolution of a well-educated populous is integration, and for them to deny a child a better education because of the color of their skin is ludicrous and defeating the purpose. It shows just how out-of-touch this administration is with their own people that they say they want to help…This is not 1965,” Dash told FOX411. “This is proof to me that this administration is a bunch of bullies. They need to drop these charges.”
Drawing on her own experience growing up in the Bronx and later Los Angeles, Dash noted that she too was stuck in a public education system that was failing her until her family could afford to send her to private school.
“I’m not saying public schools are bad, I’m not saying that the failing schools in Louisiana can’t improve over time, but these kids that Gov. Jindal [is] trying to help don’t have the time to wait,” she continued. “This is not theoretical, this is not political. This is not even partisan. This is from my own experience, and that’s why I am so passionate about it…When you’ve got education, you’ve got knowledge and power and confidence to go out in the world.”
And it wasn’t until the actress and entrepreneur started reflecting on concerns like public education that she found her footing as an out-and-proud supporter of the GOP.
“The school system has become a part of this huge government machine, governed by people who aren’t close to the situation. That’s why I’m a Republican. I believe in small government. That’s what I am fighting for with this country,” Dash said. “The government is just too big and we have to make it smaller, people are getting lost.”
Last year, the Hollywood star was subjected to a storm of internet backlash, racist remarks and even death wishes when she endorsed Mitt Romney for President – although no one ever uttered a word of criticism to her face.
“I didn’t know anything about (Obama) when I voted for him in 2008. My choice to do so was purely because he was black. Naively, I thought he would be the right person for the job but unfortunately it didn’t turn out that way,” Dash explained. “Obama had the opportunity to really unite this country in such a profound way, but instead he has done the opposite. We are so divided right now, everything has become about race, more than I’ve ever known in my lifetime.”
Speaking of race, Dash is in the process of writing an autobiographical book entitled “Not Black Enough” – an exploration of this critical phrase she has received her whole life, and an attempt to understand exactly what it means. She’s also working with a producer and show runner from the hit “Curb Your Enthusiasm” to develop “Stacey Dash is Normal” – a fictionalized, satirical television comedy series about her life as a single mother, actress, and Republican in Hollywood.
“Part of the show is going to be great satire looking at some of the ridiculousness in both parties and promises to be equal opportunity offenders without being cynical,” she assured us. “My main goal is to really make people think, and laugh while they do so.”
And in a few weeks Dash is launching an App called “Who Has It,” alongside young, female tech entrepreneur Jennifer Colli, which will allow users to virtually step into her closet and the closets of other known names.
“(You will see everything) from shoes to handbags to watches to jewelry, it shows what they have and where to get it – and it’s not all designer. I’m excited to be a part of it,” Dash added. “All of this is to say that before I’m a Republican or Democrat, I’m like most people in Hollywood and America, I’m a capitalist.”