Betsy DeVos: A Political Advocate Who Maintains Her Professionalism

Just before President Trump revoked the policy that allowed transgender school students to use the restroom that best matched their gender identity, Ms. DeVos met with a delegate for transgender and gay employees at the Education Department to warn them of President Trump’s decision. Ms. DeVos was opposed to President Trump’s decision, but she maintained public politeness during the official announcement.


Although Ms. DeVos is new to Washington and has held no official government position in Washington before being elected, she is making positive efforts to improve education. Ms. DeVos lost her argument for upholding the policy that allowed transgender public bathroom access because her opponent was Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Mr. Sessions has many years of experience in Washington as he was a senator for decades, and he is known to have close affiliations with those close to President Trump.


Although she lost her argument against Attorney General Sessions for transgender public restroom access, her critics and supporters expect that she will do well in her position once she is accustomed to Washington politics. One of Ms. DeVos’ first acts in her new position was to reach out to two major teachers unions that resulted in a positive outcome. Many have observed her public politeness and professionalism, but she is known to be a relentless political fighter in her home state. According to former state attorney general Mike Cox, “In Michigan, she instilled fear in a lot of people, and it’s not just because she’s a billionaire. I found Betsy to be very determined, steely, when she sets her mind on a goal.” Moreover, Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, stated “There is a real tendency to underestimate her. She comes across as personable, plain-spoken, but she is dangerous.”


Ms. DeVos is working to improve education for children in the United States by advocating for the use of vouchers. Ms. DeVos wants funding to be taken from public schools to be used as vouchers for underprivileged children, so they have the opportunity to attend charter or religious schools. Ms. DeVos has been a strong supporter of charter schools, and she feels her plan will create competition with public schools that will cause the public schools to make the changes that are necessary to improve education.


When Ms. DeVos was asked how she felt about her critics, she replied “The media has had its fun with me, and that’s O.K.” Although her friends say that she becomes annoyed when she is portrayed as an idiot, she ultimately shrugs it off without response.


Ms. DeVos was born in Holland, Michigan, in 1958. She was raised in the Christian Reform Church and attended Calvin College, which is a Christian college close to Grand Rapids, Michigan. She is married to Dick DeVos, and the couple support numerous political, religious, and conservative groups. In addition, from 1992-1997, Ms. DeVos served as the Republican National Committeewoman for Michigan, and she was the chair for the Michigan Republican Party from 1996-2000.


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