Meet Betsy DeVos, the new Education Secretary
Last February 7, the US Senate confirmed Betsy DeVos as the new Education Secretary for the Trump administration.
Her confirmation barely edged by as she got her approval by only one point, 51 to 50, courtesy of Vice President Mike Pence to break the tie.
It was a historical moment as DeVos became the first Cabinet appointment to have a deadlock in the Senate.
With her confirmation, the LGBT community have their own worries about DeVos as she might undo the protections given to LGBT youth in school.
Betsy DeVos: Carparts princess of Michigan
Born Elizabeth Prince on January 8, 1958, Betsy grew up in Holland, Michigan to parents Elsa Prince and Edgar Prince. Her father ran a business supplying automobile parts.
She earned a degree in business administration and political science from Calvin College.
A devout Christian, she’s reportedly an active member of the Christian Reformed Church in North America, Mars Hills Bible Church, and follows the Christian Democracy political ideology.
She’s also a member of National Organization for Marriage and Focus on the Family– which is adamantly against equality for LGBT and supports ex-gay junk science.
Betsy DeVos marries into more money
She then married Richard DeVos Jr. in 1979, a combination of two of the most powerful and wealthiest Dutch families in Michigan.
In this case, DeVos was the son of Richard Sr., who built Amway as a soap factory and turned it into a US$ 9.5 billion annual sales multinational corporation.
“There’s a close-knit atmosphere of the aristocracy of West Michigan,” a Michiganite observed. “It almost brings to mind the old monarchies of Europe where they would intermarry.”
Betsy DeVos and the Republican Party
DeVos began her Republican ties in Michigan in 1992. She was described as a political pit bull because of her persistence; she was also recognized as a great organizer and a good fundraiser.
“There’s not a Republican president or presidential candidate in the last fifty years who hasn’t known the DeVoses,” Saul Anuzis, a former chairman of the Michigan Republican Party, told Mother Jones in 2014.
She was the number one supporter of George W. Bush and was going to support Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign in 2016.
A lobbyist for private schools, she’s a known opponent of same-sex marriage and is ambivalent about school bullying.
First day in school for Betsy DeVos
President Donald Trump’s appointment of DeVos received a lot of protests, particularly from the Democrats.
Specifically, DeVos didn’t have any public education experience and was mostly known as a Republican donor with deep pockets.
After her confirmation, she received a lot of flak for her infamous Day 1 tweet: “Day 1 on the job is done, but we’re only getting started. Now where do I find the pencils? :)”
Many public schools have barely any budget that most school teachers buy the school supplies themselves.
She was also blocked from entering a school in DC by protesters who shouted, “Shame.” In the end, she had to use a different entrance.