The confirmation hearing for Education Secretary nominee Betsy DeVos has been delayed until next week. But, she’s already working to win support for her nomination and her ideas on school reform.
DeVos is a nationally known advocate for allowing more school choice, charter schools, and vouchers. Her positions have put her at odds with many local school officials and teachers unions.
Ed Patru is part of the DeVos communications team. He says DeVos is hoping the confirmation process will be a forum to discuss her ideas.
“But all of this is taking place in a hyper-political environment,” he said. “It’s impossible to divorce these hearings from the politics.”
Patru says a messaging battle is already shaping up to respond in a rapid fashion to her critics. DeVos is also meeting with senators individually in an effort to win confirmation, and to begin her job in a strong position to enact her plans.
Michigan Senator Gary Peters he is still undecided, but skeptical.
“I always keep an open mind,” he said, “but I’ve also seen Betsy DeVos and her advocacy over the last 20 years. I can’t imagine that’s going to change in a meeting with her and hearing her response.”
Peters is supposed to meet with DeVos next week.
Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow has already announced she is a “no” vote on the DeVos nomination. But there are easily enough Republican votes to approve her.
Patru says DeVos has a history of working with Democrats and Republicans on school choice and education reform. DeVos is a former Michigan Republican Party chair and the DeVos family is among the largest GOP donors in the country.