Alaska senators ultimately split as DeVos becomes Education secretary

Betsy DeVos is sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence as the Secretary of Education. (Screenshot from White House video)

The U.S. Senate today (Feb. 7) voted to confirm Betsy DeVos as Education secretary. DeVos is the only one President Trump’s cabinet nominees so far to face serious trouble on the Senate floor. Senators were evenly divided, 50 to 50, and Vice President Mike Pence cast the tie-breaker in favor of confirmation. Alaska’s two senators were split. Sen. Lisa Murkowski was one of two Republicans to vote against DeVos, while Sen. Dan Sullivan voted for her confirmation.

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DeVos, a billionaire and frequent political contributor, has been active on the issue of school choice. Critics say she would undermine public education by sending tax dollars to private schools.

Murkowski said the nominee did not know enough about public schools to fix their shortcomings. Sullivan, though, said DeVos convinced him she cares about the education of all students.

Liz Ruskin is the Washington, D.C., correspondent at Alaska Public Media. Reach her Read more about Lizhere.

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