(AP) – President-elect Donald Trump picks charter school advocate Betsy DeVos to be education secretary.
She is the former chair of the Michigan Republican Party, serving twice as head from 1996-2000 and 2003-2005.
DeVos also represented Michigan on the Republican National Committee.
The DeVos family is prominent in Republican Party politics and active in West Michigan communities.
According to a biography on the Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation website Betsy DeVos has been an advocate for quality education for all students, regardless of their location or socioeconomic level.
She currently serves on a number of national and local boards including the DeVos Institute of Arts Management, American Federation for Children, ArtPrize, Philanthropy Roundtable, and American Enterprise Institute.
Gov. Rick Snyder complimented President-elect Trump for his selection of DeVos. Snyder said DeVos has been passionate about reforming education in a way that puts kids first.
She has seen her share of controversy.
In 2008 a group headed by Betsy DeVos was fined $5.2 million for an illegal election contribution.
The group, “All Children Matter”, was established in 2003 by Dick DeVos and the group supported candidates who favored school choice.
The Michigan Education Association responded by saying:
DeVos brings no credible experience or expertise in education, but rather has pushed for the privatization and dismantling of public education at every turn. She rejects evidence, research and the experiences of front-line educators in pursuit of policy changes that only serve to profit billionaires.
Michigan Democratic Party Brandon Dillon was quick to speak out against the Trump pick. “Here is someone, in Betsy DeVos, who has made it her life’s work to channel her family’s massive wealth toward destroying Michigan’s public education system, and now she’s about to oversee the policy and direction of education for the entire United States.”
Betsy DeVos has been married for over 30 years to Dick DeVos, a former candidate for Michigan governor who lost to Jennifer Granholm in 2006. They have four children and five grandchildren.
This story is developing and will be updated online and on 6 News.