Mid-South senators vote to confirm Betsy DeVos

Mid-South senators vote to confirm Betsy DeVos

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WMC) - The United States Senate confirmed Betsy DeVos as the new education secretary with Vice President Mike Pence breaking the 50-50 tie.

Two Republican senators joined forces with Democrats in an effort to stop DeVos from receiving the confirmation, only to leave the vote split down the middle. However, those Republicans were not from the Mid-South. Senators from Mississippi and Tennessee went along party lines and voted to confirm President Donald Trump's nomination for education secretary.

Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS) voiced his support for DeVos and said he was able to meet with her.

"I met with Betsy DeVos, and received her commitment to public education, addressing the urgent needs of rural schools, and programs important to Mississippi children.  I believe she has the leadership skills to lead the Department of Education.  I will work with her to improve our schools and to return more control over educational policies to states. The outpouring of calls and letters from Mississippians on Mrs. DeVos' nomination, both for and against, are indicative of a great interest in making our schools more effective.  I appreciate that input, and hope we can work together toward that goal."

The executive director of The Mississippi Professional Educators said many members do not agree with Senator Cochran and are saying DeVos is a disappointing and unqualified choice.

But, Cochran wasn't the only Mid-South congressman to throw support to DeVos.

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) released a statement saying he believed DeVos would correct some of the things that need to be addressed and fixed.

"I championed Betsy DeVos because she will implement the new law fixing No Child Left Behind the way Congress wrote it: the reverse the trend toward a national school board and restore local control of Tennessee's public schools. Under her leadership, there will be no Washington mandates for Common Core, for teacher evaluation, or for vouchers," Alexander said.

Cochran and Alexander were joined by Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) in their support for DeVos.

Corker said he has known DeVos for many years and that she has a heart for students as well as ideas for reform.

"Parents across Tennessee are rightfully passionate about the education their children receive, and teachers want to have flexibility in the ways they teach each and every student," said Corker. "During the many years I have known Betsy DeVos, I have seen firsthand the heart she has for students and the ideas she has for long overdue reforms. For decades, Betsy has passionately and effectively advocated for all children – regardless of gender, race or socioeconomic status – to have access to a quality education. She believes in empowering parents and has committed to working with states and local school districts to understand their specific needs. Since her confirmation hearing in the Senate, Betsy has reiterated her commitment to enforce the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which I fully trust her to do. I am proud to support her nomination and am confident that she will serve our country, our parents, our teachers, and most importantly, our students well as secretary of education."

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