Senate committee set to hold DeVos hearing next week

Melissa Nann Burke
Detroit News Washington Bureau

Washington — A U.S. Senate committee hearing has been set next week for Betsy DeVos, the nominee for education secretary under President-elect Donald Trump.

The Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions has scheduled the hearing for 10 a.m. Jan. 11 on Capitol Hill.

Trump announced in late November that he intended to choose DeVos for the education post.

DeVos, who is from the Grand Rapids area, is a philanthropist, businesswoman and mega donor to the Republican Party who is viewed as a national leader in the school choice movement.

If DeVos is approved by the committee, her appointment next goes to the full U.S. Senate for a vote.

Until recently, DeVos chaired the American Federation for Children, a Washington, D.C.-based organization devoted to expanding school of choice options across the country.

In Michigan, she helped promote the passage of the state’s first charter school bill in 1993. In recent years, her strategy has focused on getting choice-friendly lawmakers elected around the country, then helping them draft and enact laws.

She and husband Dick co-founded the political action committee, Great Lakes Education Project, known as GLEP, in 2001 to advocate reform and promote the expansion of charter schools across Michigan “because a ZIP code shouldn’t determine the education outcomes for children.”

Betsy DeVos is a former Michigan Republican Party chairwoman, and Dick unsuccessfully ran for Michigan governor in 2006.

The DeVos family, heirs to the Amway Corp. fortune, are among the most prolific donors to the state Republican Party, GOP officeholders and candidates.

mburke@detroitnews.com

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