Gone are the days when the average American citizen could ignore the machinations of Washington D.C. and the rest of the federal government. The election of Donald Trump has put a microscope on American politics in a way that the country simply has not had in generations, and that isn’t a bad thing. With President Trump in the White House, millions of Americans across the country are beginning to realize that even political outsiders are going to have their chance to speak their mind. In no form is this concept amplified better than in the nomination and subsequent confirmation of Betsy DeVos.
Betsy DeVos is a prominent Republican from the state of Michigan with decades of experience working to bring education reform to the Midwest. Betsy DeVos is sisters with Erik Prince, founder of Blackwater, and husband to Dick DeVos, heir to the Amway fortune. With such a prosperous family, Betsy DeVos could have easily set aside the idea of working for the American people and she never would have worried about a thing in her life. Fortunately for her constituents, DeVos would rather work to bring change than relax while it happens around her.
After a shaky confirmation hearing, Betsy DeVos settled into her post as Secretary of Education. After spending decades as a prominent donor to the Republican party, DeVos was finally going to have her chance to push for education reform in the highest levels of the American government, and she would be doing so with the tacit approval of President Trump and the Republican platform itself. Still, DeVos had her doubters, on both sides of the political aisle, and that is why it is unsurprising that she came out of the gate swinging, ready to make change.
After landing her position, Betsy DeVos worked quickly in order to line up face to face meetings with prominent leaders in the teacher’s unions across the nation. While many union leaders passed up on the chance to meet with DeVos, some few did end up taking the invitation. Among the teacher’s union leaders that accepted DeVos’s invite was Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers. Weingarten is a staunch progressive and a prominent Democrat, but even she couldn’t help but walk away from her meeting with DeVos in an impressed manner. Weingarten pointed out, “She comes across as personable, plain-spoken, but she is dangerous.”
Of course, when we talk about Betsy DeVos as an outsider, we have to remember who it is that she works for. President Trump is as far away from the typical politician as possible so it shouldn’t surprise us to see DeVos get her chance to shine in the current political climate. Whether that’ll be a good thing or not likely won’t be answered for years to come.
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