As the vote count narrows on Betsy DeVos’s nomination to be the next U.S. secretary of education, U.S. Sen. Bob Corker signaled on Thursday that he will support the Michigan school choice advocate.
The Tennessee Republican released a statement noting that he has known DeVos for years and is “confident that she will do a great job as secretary of education.”
“For decades, Betsy DeVos has passionately and effectively advocated for all children — regardless of gender, race or socioeconomic status — to have access to a quality education,” Corker said. “She believes in empowering parents and has committed to working with states and local school districts.”
The endorsement came one day after two GOP senators, Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, said they will oppose President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the U.S. Department of Education. Joining 46 Democrats and two independents indicating plans to vote no, that puts the impending vote closer to a 50-50 tie, which would be broken by Vice President Mike Pence.
Corker’s endorsement means DeVos will get the support of both Tennessee senators when her nomination goes before the full Senate in a vote now scheduled for Monday.
Sen. Lamar Alexander, who chairs the Senate education committee that approved DeVos’s nomination on Tuesday, has consistently backed DeVos, even as he has received pushback from constituents who question whether she is qualified for the job because of her lack of experience in public education.
School choice advocates have praised DeVos for her advocacy and philanthropy to expand charter schools and tuition vouchers in Michigan.
Part of the wealthy Amway dynasty, DeVos has been a Republican Party chairwoman in Michigan and also chaired the pro-school-choice advocacy group American Federation for Children. She is a staunch advocate of vouchers, which let families funnel public money to private schools.