U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ early days in Washington after the election and inauguration of Donald Trump proved somewhat challenging for the Michigan woman. After she was nominated by Donald Trump to serve in his Cabinet, she faced a daunting nomination process on Capital Hill. Ultimately, DeVos was confirmed, in the narrowest of votes in the United States Senate. The Vice President had to break a tie. Learn more here: http://www.betsydevos.com/
Upon beginning her service as the U.S. Secretary of Education, men and women in the nation’s capital, and across the United States, have started to give her a second look. Many people have been surprised at her tenacity and capability, a response that is unusual to those who have know the Secretary the longest. Friends and political foes alike in her home state Michigan have long regarded DeVos a capable politician and administrator.
Before becoming Secretary of Education, DeVos actually had a significant career in politics and community service. She served as the Chairman of the Michigan Republican Party. In addition, her husband ran for Governor of Michigan, although his campaign was not successful.
Both Betsy, and her husband, Dick, have been active philanthropists, generous with their time and money. Both Betsy and Dick DeVos was from financially successful families. Betsy was raised in a comfortable setting. Her husband Dick is the son of the founder of the Amway company.
Prior to being nominated as the U.S. Secretary of Education, DeVos had prior service in Washington, D.C. Specifically, she was placed on the Kennedy Center Board of Directors by President George W. Bush. While on the Kennedy Center Board of Directors, DeVos initiated a new education program through the organization. She and her husband also donated millions of dollars of their own money to get this particular Kennedy Center education program up and running.
Fairly early on during her tenure in the Department of Education, DeVos faced the matter of Trump’s decision to reverse an Obama-era policy pertaining to transgender students in public schools and restroom access. The Obama Administration had established a policy that permitted students the ability to utilize the restroom that matched their own gender identity. Trump ultimately made the decision to reverse this policy.
Secretary DeVos initially was opposed to Trump’s determination to reverse the Obama policy. She shared her misgivings with the President, to no avail. She pitched her case privately to the President. Ultimately, when Trump made his decision, DeVos never gave a public indication that she ever disagreed with the President. This sense of being a team player does stand out sharply with what happens oftentimes in D.C. in this day and age.
Prior to the President making his announcement about the policy change, DeVos met with representatives of transgender and LGBT employees in the Education Department. She wanted to give them the heads up about the policy change in the offing. She also wanted to share her opposition to the change, but make clear that as a member of the Cabinet, she was obliged to support the President’s ultimate decision on policy issues.