Upon arriving in the nation’s capital as Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education, some initial controversy as well as misconceptions abounded about Betsy DeVos. A major misconception arose from the thought that DeVos was not politically savvy. People in D.C., and elsewhere around the country are learning that nothing could be more untrue than the idea that Betsy DeVos is not politically savvy.
The reality is that even her own nomination battle underscores that DeVos is a talented political tactician. While it is true that the Vice President needed to cast a tie-breaking vote to confirm DeVos as Secretary of Education, she nonetheless was approved to join the President’s Cabinet against what many people contended was an impossible goal for her to achieve. This is how underestimated DeVos was when her Senate confirmation hearings commenced.
After being confirmed at taking the helm at the U.S. Department of Education, DeVos again demonstrated her skill as a politician. Fairly early on during her time in office, President Trump began rattling about his desired to rescind the Obama Administration’s rule about transgender people using restrooms that best reflected their own gender identities.
Some individuals were surprised to learn that DeVos did not initially favor this policy change. Indeed, she lobbied her boss, Donald Trump, to maintain the Obama Administration policy.
In the end, Trump made the decision to rescind the Obama policy regarding restrooms in public schools. When he made the decision, DeVos joined the President in supporting his policy. Indeed, directly after this decision, she spoke on behalf of the Administration at a large conservative confab. She specifically, and convincingly, explained the policy change and demonstrated no daylight between her position and that of the President. In other words, she lobbied for her position regarding this issue, but when a decision was made, she became a full team player, as a member of a presidential administration really is expected to become more often than not.
Also early in her time in office, DeVos reached out to the heads of the two largest teachers unions in the nation, to begin a course of dialogue. She has demonstrated a willingness to connect with individuals from all segments of the political spectrum.
Many Americans have yet to come to realize that DeVos has been an effective, skillful politician long before coming to Washington and becoming Secretary of Education. She served as the chairman of the Michigan Republican Party. She has headed up a myriad of political campaigns, both for candidates and issues. Her husband ran for Governor of Michigan, a campaign in which she played a large role.
When it comes to issues, DeVos has been particularly effective, and committed, when it comes to school choice. She has headed up a number of successful campaigns to bring about a change in laws to permit parents and students broader choice when it comes to schools and education. For example, she was a person primarily responsible for a major change in Florida law that gave rise to one of the broadest school choice programs in the United States at this time.
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