Sen. Thad Cochran voted to confirm Elisabeth “Betsy” DeVos to be Secretary of Education on Tuesday.
“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,” the Republican senator said in a written statement. “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.”
Sen. Roger Wicker also voted in favor of DeVos and Vice President Mike Pence broke a 50-50 tie to confirm the nomination.
“As the product of our state’s public schools and the father of three children who graduated from Tupelo’s public school system, I understand the important role education plays in our children’s futures and in our state’s economic development,” Wicker wrote. “I am confident Betsy DeVos will work to implement the laws that Congress passes and place decision-making back where it belongs — in the hands of family, local leaders, and states.”
Wicker’s release said she testified during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions Committee she “absolutely” supports public education.
Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine voted with the Democrats in opposition to DeVos.
Shortly after the confirmation, Gov. Phil Bryant tweeted his congratulations and support for the new cabinet official as well.