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.

Listen now

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.

Previous articleNow that it’s legal, what’s it like to buy pot in Alaska?
Next articleCourt to issue opinion on possible DNA testing in decades-old Juneau homicide
Liz Ruskin covers Alaska issues in Washington as the network's D.C. correspondent. She was born in Anchorage and is a West High grad. She has degrees from the University of Washington and the University of Missouri School of Journalism in Columbia. She previously worked at the Homer News, the Anchorage Daily News and the Washington bureau of McClatchy Newspapers. She also freelanced for several years from the U.K. and Japan, in print and radio. Liz has been APRN’s Washington, D.C. correspondent since October 2013. She's @lruskin on Twitter. She welcomes your news tips at lruskin (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  | About Liz