The new Secretary of Education, Betsy Devos, recently met with LGBT representatives of employees of the DOE. This wasn’t a routine meeting. It was a warning. She met with them to inform them that, in just a few hours, President Trump would be signing a measure that effectively ends the Obama-era policy that allows transgender students to use the bathroom that they identify with. Some see this meeting as an effort by Devos to help smoothe over the action as out of character for Devos. Those who have known her longest say this is to be expected and there is only more of this to come.
Those closest to Devos say that opposed the measure within the cabinet. While this may have been her position privately, it doesn’t seem to be her public position. She even called the original policy an “overreach” during a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference. So, which Devos are we going to get as her tenure goes on? Of course, Trump and his advisors would like her to continue to fall in line with their actions.
If you are from the State of Michigan, you have probably heard of Betsy Devos before, especially if you paid any attention at all to the fight for charter schools in the state. Devos was a staunch advocate for both charter schools and a voucher program in the state. This is part of the reason that she was chosen by Trump to be the Secretary of the Department of Education. Some conservatives would like to see the DOE gone completely, but it is safe to say that they are going to try to diminish its power as much as possible.
Contrary to her persona so far within the Trump administration, Devos is known for being headstrong and tireless when fighting for what she wants in her home base of Grand Rapids, Michigan. The extreme wealth of her and her husband’s family only aided in her efforts, striking fear in the hears of those who oppose her. Some feel it is only a matter of time before this is the case in Washington D.C. Of course, most of the time her beliefs will compliment what the cabinet is trying to do.
Betsy Devos was born into the Prince family, an extremely wealthy and religious family from Holland, Michigan. They gained their wealth through owning and operating the Prince Corporation, a giant automobile parts distributor based in Grand Rapids. They are members of the Christian Reform Church, a rigid and strict sect of Christianity that, like the Prince family, has Dutch roots.
Only adding to her already affluent lifestyle was her marriage to Dick Devos. The Devos family is also one of the richest in Michigan, gaining most of their wealth through owning the mail order retail company, Amway. Devos is active in policy and politics as well. His most notable action in that arena so far was an unsuccessful 2006 run for governor.
So far, Devos has been fairly meek. Look out for this to change over time, though. People can only hide their true personality for so long when it comes to fighting for what they believe in.
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