Michigan billionaire Betsy DeVos, along with family and companies associated with her, donated at least $12,000 to Susana Martinez’s campaign for re-election in 2014. Fast-forward to 2017 and DeVos became Donald Trump’s surprise nominee to head the US Dept. of Education and Martinez stepped in to help.
On January 4, 2017 Gov. Susana Martinez ‘s name appeared on a letter of recommendation for Betsy DeVos published in the Investor’s Business Daily – a magazine for business leaders, not educators.
“Betsy DeVos is the right person for the job.”
“She has extensive experience…”
In her letter which appeared before Senate committees began vetting DeVos, Gov. Martinez praised DeVos saying she has “extensive experience” in education and goes on to outline DeVos’ agenda to minimize the role of the US Department of Education to free up governors like Martinez to enact their own reforms.
It may be no surprise that Martinez is against US Dept. of Education oversight of her education reform attempts that have failed New Mexico kids. Under President Obama, the USDOE required the state to repay up to $100 million in special education funding it had improperly withheld from children with special needs.
In his remarks on the floor of the US Senate, Sen. Martin Heinrich noted:
“Ms. DeVos has been a key player in the well moneyed effort to privatize and siphon funds away from public education, and she has time and again undermined the teachers we all rely upon.
“It appears as though Betsy Devos’s most notable experience in education is spending her career and her fortune advocating for policies that divert public tax dollars away from public schools and into private schools.”
In a public letter signed by Sen. Tom Udall along with Senators Sanders, Brown, Markey and Merkley, they note:
DeVos’ leadership role in the All Children Matter PAC is one of her many activities as a longtime billionaire mega-donor for conservative causes, with DeVos stating her own goal to be “buying influence.” As DeVos wrote in a 1997 op-ed for Roll Call, “my family is the largest single contributor of soft money to the national Republican party…. I have decided, however, to stop taking offense at the suggestion that we are buying influence. Now, I simply concede the point.
Both US Senators voted no on DeVos’ confirmation. The historic senate overnight floor session ended in a tie vote (50-50, on partisan lines). Vice President Mike Pence cast the tie-breaking vote for DeVos’ nomination.