WASHINGTON D.C. — Betsy DeVos was confirmed on Tuesday morning by the US Senate to become the next U.S. Secretary of Education in a very close vote.
The final vote for DeVos was split 50-50 with two Republicans joining all 48 Democrats to oppose her. Vice President Mike Pence cast a historic tie-breaking vote in favor of DeVos. Both Iowa Senators, Charles Grassley and Joni Ernst, voted in favor of DeVos. Senator Ernst released the following statement on Tuesday afternoon explaining her decision:
|“All children deserve a chance to achieve success regardless of where they are born and the situations their families face. Having grown up in rural Southwest Iowa, my parents often stressed the importance of a strong education.
“In Iowa, we are fortunate to have one of the best public school systems in the nation. And, I am a proud product of our Iowa public school system – as is my 17 year-old daughter, Libby who will graduate this May.
“As a mother and grandmother, I firmly believe education should be handled at the state and local level by Iowans, not Washington bureaucrats.
“Over the last several weeks, I have thoroughly vetted Betsy DeVos, and have found that she shares the belief that those closest to our students – from parents to teachers to local administrators and local elected officials – know what is best for our students.
“Additionally, she has pledged to fight for all students, including those attending public, private, and charter schools and students who require additional support due to developmental, physical, or other disabilities.
“While I support her confirmation, I will be holding her accountable to the standard she has placed upon herself.
“I have heard from folks on both sides of the debate over Betsy DeVos. Good people can disagree with one another and still engage in a civil, productive discourse.
“An open and honest dialogue is important and it’s critical that I continue to hear from you – which you can do by calling one of our offices, sending me a letter, or visit my website Ernst Dot Senate Dot Gov.
“I look forward to working with you to protect our schools, restore local control, and prepare our youth to enter the workforce.
“Thank you for all that you do.”