Murkowski Announces She Will Vote Against Education Secretary Nominee

Cites Need for Secretary to Support Public School Students

Today U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) announced that she will vote “no” when the Senate takes the final vote on the nomination of Betsy DeVos to be Secretary of Education.

Senator Murkowski explained her reasoning on the Senate floor, saying:

“I have serious concerns about a nominee to be Secretary of Education who has been so involved in one side of the equation – so immersed in the push for vouchers – that she may be unaware of what actually is successful in the public schools, and what is broken or how to fix them.

Betsy DeVos must show us that she truly understands the children of Alaska and across America, both urban and rural, who are not able to access an alternative choice in education as in so many of my communities. She must show us that she will work to help the struggling public schools that strive to educate children whose parents are unable to drive them across town to get to a better school. That she will not ignore the homeless students whose main worry is finding somewhere safe to sleep and for whom their public school is truly a refuge. That she will fight for the children whose parents do not know how to navigate these educational options.”


 (Click image to watch Senator Murkowski’s floor speech.)

Noting that she had “heard from thousands of Alaskans who have shared their concerns about Mrs. DeVos as Secretary of Education, by phone, in person, by email and through petition” and had carefully considered everything she learned from her private meetings with Mrs. DeVos, listening to her answers at her confirmation hearing, and reading her written responses, Murkowski ended her speech by saying:    

“I conclude my remarks to make clear that my colleagues know firmly that I do not intend to vote, on final passage, to support Mrs. DeVos to be Secretary of Education.”

Click here for text of Senator Murkowski’s floor speech.

Background: Yesterday the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, of which Senator Murkowski is a member, voted to refer Mrs. DeVos’ nomination for consideration by the full Senate. Senator Murkowski voted to move DeVos out of the HELP Committee due to her longstanding belief that the President has the right to name their Cabinet and that the full Senate should have the opportunity to consider and vote on those nominees.

Senator Murkowski supports the Senate’s process that allows DeVos’ nomination to come to the Senate floor for an up or down vote by all Senators. 

Related Issues: Education