News, Trump Administration

Undecided no longer – Senator Tillis will support DeVos as Education Secretary

There was a point Thursday when it appeared on social media that Senator Thom Tillis was on the fence about supporting Donald Trump’s pick for U.S. Education Secretary.

But hopes to shift Tillis to a “No” vote were dashed late this afternoon when the state’s junior Senator made it clear he would support Betsy DeVos, in part because of her support for school choice.

The News & Observer reports:

“I’m for her,” Tillis said, mentioning DeVos’ stances on increasing opportunities for charter schools and school choice.

Tillis, who served as speaker of the House in North Carolina before taking office in the U.S. Senate in 2014, said school choice is working in his home state and DeVos would champion those types of programs. He noted programs like North Carolina’s opportunity scholarship for kindergarten through high school students to attend private schools with government tuition assistance.

DeVos, Tillis said Thursday, won’t pile on federal education mandates for states and local school districts if she’s confirmed by the Senate.

“She’s talking about giving states the ability to turn a trend around – which is (the trend of) failing public schools. Not all of them. There’s a lot of good ones,” Tillis said. “We owe to these kids to come up with solutions to fix it for this generation, not the next generation.”

Tillis joins North Carolina Senator Richard Burr who was adamant earlier this week in his support for DeVos, a key contributor,  to head the U.S. Education Department.

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A vote before the full Senate could come early next week.

55 Comments


  1. ANCA A STEFAN

    February 2, 2017 at 9:36 pm

    vote is tomorrow (friday, feb 3rd) morning at 6:30 AM, not next week.

  2. Rick Myracle

    February 2, 2017 at 9:55 pm

    He should have demanded far more in bribes from her. Slacker.

  3. Treacy

    February 2, 2017 at 9:59 pm

    You should be ashamed of yourself. Apparently the only human beings able to stand up to tiny hands is women. Any 10 year old knows she is unqualified. You will answer to God Mr.”Christian” Senator…I hope you can justify your cowardice.

  4. Alicia

    February 2, 2017 at 10:01 pm

    Thank You for Ms. Devos!

  5. Bonnie Gillon

    February 2, 2017 at 10:13 pm

    Enjoy being a one term senator! NC educators and advocates are gonna kick you butt in 2018!

  6. Carol

    February 3, 2017 at 4:17 am

    His office was flooded with more calls then it could handle with constituents begging him to vote no. What a terrible public servant. He is obviously only in Washington to serve himself.

  7. elaine ford

    February 3, 2017 at 5:21 am

    Vote NO for Betsy DeVos! Not qualified!

  8. Kelcey Loomer

    February 3, 2017 at 9:12 am

    Another bought politician… $70,000 to his campaign from DeVos is obviously more important than the thousands of NC parents, grandparents, and educators who called and wrote and asked Senator Tillis to say no to DeVos.

  9. Joe Peck

    February 3, 2017 at 9:44 am

    Tillis, you coward, do the right thing and vote NO for this unqualified woman.

  10. keely

    February 3, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    Money over qualifications. Tillis will be asking her super pac for more funding next election, so obvious. Shameful.

  11. Tamara Propst

    February 3, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    I am so sorry that the representatives of North Carolina are cowards in the face of Donald Trump and Steve Bannon. Your state is more important than the need for Trump to be King. Our state education does not need Betsy DeVos and her political contributions to destroy the education system.

  12. NCpoliticians lie

    February 3, 2017 at 3:39 pm

    Burr & Tillis both recd MONEY from DeVos
    Burr got approx 43k
    TILLIS GOT 73K

    A*******
    Its all about the money…all of them

  13. Mary latham

    February 3, 2017 at 4:21 pm

    Given their open receiving of money from her- they should be barred from even being allowed to vote for her. But then again with a shameless nepotistic commander in chief who ignores the fact that in NO way did he get anywhere close to a mandate in the peoples’ votes, I can’t say that I’m surprised by our supposed representatives. Just incredibly frustrated by their lack of any backbone or moral integrity. Educators will indeed be uniting against the inept next fall!

  14. Nate

    February 3, 2017 at 4:50 pm

    Keep calling. Overwhelm his staff. Shame him for this support.

    Or pick another cabinet member. They all suck.

  15. Cheryl

    February 3, 2017 at 8:08 pm

    I was so hopeful that you really cared about the children of our state. Shame on you. McCrory was a sad excuse for a Governor…thank God he’s out. You’re next, enjoy your cushy job now, Senator Tillis. You won’t be voted in next time. I knew Burr wouldn’t think about his constituents, he is a disaster. He only serves himself as Senator. But you, I thought you would do better.

  16. Phyllis

    February 4, 2017 at 11:36 am

    He can vote to approve her…and I can ignore his candidacy in ANY future election!
    He will never get my vote, nor the vote of anyone I am able to talk to and convince
    of his non existent qualifications to govern! He cares NOT about our children!!

  17. Claire

    February 4, 2017 at 3:47 pm

    Devos said it herself – “we expect a return for our support”. So unqualified and she would not be in this position if it weren’t for her money.

  18. Carol Donn

    February 4, 2017 at 8:10 pm

    Apparently it’s DeVos’ money spending that matters to you. She has a tremendous amount of money that she can spend. How much money did she shove into your pockets for your votes, Tillus and Burr. She has demonstrate to the committee her total lack of understanding the needs of education in our country and yet you both think she is qualified. Apparently you both know absolutely nothing about the needs of a solid education for U.S. children either. You both think education is “business” when it certainly is not. You both are the worst representatives of NC. You both make NC look as backwards as the rest of our nation thinks it is. You both think the same as DeVos, “let’s make ourselves richer by selling the idea of Education as a business in the U.S.”, instead of actually nurturing and growing the minds of All the children no matter what, race, economic standing, abilities, or culture. You both are disgusting and pathetic.

  19. Janine

    February 4, 2017 at 11:33 pm

    I am very disappointed but he had already voiced support for her so this is not new. He only mtade it seem like he was on the fence. His office had told me more than a week ago that he supported her because of her passion and energy. They should have added that he supported her for her $73,000 contribution to his campaign.

  20. sue

    February 5, 2017 at 7:00 pm

    You do not care for our children!

  21. Betty

    February 5, 2017 at 7:40 pm

    There’s the answer: “key contributor “

  22. Bethany nyswaner

    February 5, 2017 at 10:23 pm

    Vote no she is not qualified. She will set this country back.

  23. Mimi Johnson

    February 5, 2017 at 11:11 pm

    DeVos bought Sen. Tillis for $70,000. She has donated enormous sums of money to EACH and EVERY Republican’t senator so she is insured of their vote. Perhaps if we ALL joined together we could outbid for Sen. Tillis….if we each put a dollar or two in the pot, perhaps we could raise $71,000 and we, too, could buy Sen. Tillis who would then vote as WE want him to, eh?

  24. cindy sato

    February 6, 2017 at 1:00 am

    You did not support the children of America. You let the nation down. She is unqualified and how can you live with that? Is money the only driving force in your life?

  25. Amy Archambault

    February 6, 2017 at 8:48 am

    Do you hear that sound, Thom??? It’s the sound of the swamp draining when we vote you out in 2018!!

  26. Minerva Schwartr

    February 6, 2017 at 9:53 am

    So happy. She is Awesome! 30 years working with families to understand their educational needs and then helping poor kids have the same educational and future opportunities as everyone else. That she did it out of her heart and not for a ‘job’ make her even more awesome. Only the (cold hearted) white privileged pretend not to see that what we are doing now doesn’t work and condemning generations to poverty.

  27. Kinney Baughman

    February 6, 2017 at 11:55 am

    Just left a message on your machine to vote no on Betsy DeVos but then I read the comments here and see that you, like Burr, have been bought and sold by DeVos already.

    So you say you’re in favor of school choice. So am I. If someone wants to start their own school and pay for it themselves, then more power to them. That’s their choice.

    But what they *don’t* get to do is take *my* tax money to build their own exclusive white-washed walls for their own privileged little children.

    If tax payers can re-appropriate public funds for their own use, then please send me 10 loads of gravel for my driveway and take it out of my road taxes!!

    Thank you.

  28. Jeme Sutton

    February 6, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    If you are voting for choice please know that choice will only help students who have the means to transportation to their school of choice, the means to provide the necessary tools and support to stay in their school of choice. The efforts of the DeVos empire have not helped in Minnesota, so what are you basing this newfound confidence in her ability to provide a better system? Why not get her to spend her money on helping public education now as you suggest? The Christian agenda has no place in public schools. We are a nation of religious freedom! That includes all religions or the choice to not believe! Vouchers will not help those with the greatest need. If you believe in choice DeVos is NOT the solution! I respect your service and do not agree with those who call names, but show your integrity and vote for teachers, parents and ALL children!

  29. Jeme Sutton

    February 6, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    Oops! I apologize to the great state of Minnesota! Michigan!

  30. Connie Hearn

    February 6, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    How disappointing that he seems to be ignoring the fact that she is totally unqualified. One just had to listen to her testimony to realize that. I get that he supports school vouchers, but wasn’t there a more qualified Republican who believed in school vouchers? Not one?

  31. Bernhard H. Rauch

    February 6, 2017 at 2:57 pm

    This is so sad but not unexpected. I called and emailed both senators on several occasions. She is not just unqualified but the most unqualified candidate I have ever encountered and I thought in NYC under Bloomberg.

  32. Nora Bly

    February 6, 2017 at 3:39 pm

    DeVos is unqualified, uninformed, and dangerous. She will undermine the work of Department of Education and hand it over to her billionaire family and friends. Trump said he loves the uneducated. He wants to ensure that more people will be uneducated, and DeVos is just the first step.

  33. Ardis D Hallanger

    February 6, 2017 at 3:58 pm

    Minerva ~ Even her home state has testified that she HAS NOT helped, but actually harmed poor kids trying to get a good education. She did NOT do anything out of the goodness of her heart, she did it out of the desire to profit from her student loan investments, and private K-12 Charter Schools! She has you fooled, and you should do some fact checking, not on the misleading FOX network! Tillis should be deeply ashamed for not voting how his constituents have overwhelmingly declared. Hope he will be voted out and soon. Shameful to accept bribe money – we need to get money out of politics ASAP!! That is the way it is done in many first world countries. No advertisements, no super PACS, just plain old debate the issues and Everybody Votes!!

  34. Reed Howard

    February 6, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    Anyone that doesn’t know and understand basic education terminology and is unaware of federal laws governing education policy should not be the Secretary of Education. Betsy DeVos is not qualified to be the Secretary of Education . Her charter school reform in Michigan was a disaster. Her money should not buy her this position. This is the future of our children. Reverse your move off of the fence to the side that votes No on Betsy Devos.

  35. Lawrence P Preston

    February 6, 2017 at 7:46 pm

    Pathetic! Another coward :(

  36. Sabine

    February 6, 2017 at 8:43 pm

    I know the phone lines were flooded last week with people urging you to make the right choice for this country’s children by voting NO for this unqualified woman, but you’re failing us. I can promise that you will not have MY vote at the next election. Sorely disappointed…

  37. Stock

    February 6, 2017 at 10:54 pm

    Finally! Someone who cares about children!!! Yes for Devos!!!

  38. Tamara Gales

    February 6, 2017 at 11:30 pm

    Guarantee that my vote will be for whomever oppose both Tillis & Burr. Your days of being able to promote your own financial gains over the well being of those you are ELECTED to SERVE are numbered!

  39. Kathryn Weymiller

    February 6, 2017 at 11:35 pm

    It’s not too late to do the right thing. Vote No.

  40. Carla Golden

    February 7, 2017 at 12:57 am

    Very sad to hear about your support of DeVos. It’s clear to me that government positions can bought. God help our children and grandchildren.

  41. Dinora

    February 7, 2017 at 1:42 am

    Please vote “NO”

  42. Betsy Crosby

    February 7, 2017 at 3:08 am

    You should have listened to Educators like me who called you. I was the first Occupational Therapist hired by the Irving School Dustrict back in 1978 and worked my entire career with public school children until I retired. I listened to her hearings and she is unqualified. You are making a grave mistake.

  43. John R Guy

    February 7, 2017 at 5:25 am

    While I am not a constituent, I am asking you to vote no on the DeVoss confirmation. She is unsuited for the position and will only make our public schools worse.

  44. Deborah

    February 7, 2017 at 7:21 am

    What a horrible person you don`t care about any thing but the almighty buck!!Obviously not our children!They are going to drain the swamp starting with you I guess in 2018 !!Good for them !!

  45. Gregory Yount

    February 7, 2017 at 10:19 am

    It would have taken some courage to be the 51st vote against DeVos. Clearly, he has neither the courage, nor the conscience, to do so. We will remember where his loyalties reside.

  46. Kim Franks

    February 7, 2017 at 10:31 am

    We voted out McCrory…..he is next..

  47. Marge Orth

    February 7, 2017 at 10:41 am

    Please do not vote for her. While she may have a place somewhere else our countries Education Secretary is not it!

  48. Emily Rosenthal

    February 7, 2017 at 10:58 am

    Looks like Thom Tillis just sealed his fate as a one term Senator. Even if he agrees with the idea of school choice, he has chosen to completely overlook Devos complete lack of experience. Greatly disappointed.

  49. Barbara Whenal

    February 7, 2017 at 11:01 am

    I can’t believe you NC senators are voting for DeVos, she knows nothing about our school systems. She never went to one, only private school all her life, and now, since her family and husband’s family’ money she can buy her way in. Our school children deserve better than
    2 bought senators and DeVos!!

  50. Shane Nelan

    February 7, 2017 at 11:52 am

    Senator Tillis,

    In your own words and speech: What real political courage………apparently, you do not have any. It is still not too late to Vote No to Betsy DeVos. How is she even remotely qualified for this position? Now is the time and reason to stand up and practice what you have spoken on. It is time to stand up and do what is best for our children’s education moving forward.

    Again, remember your own words – WHAT REAL POLITICAL COURAGE IS, now is the time!!!!! or be another lamb….

  51. Eddy Cheek

    February 7, 2017 at 4:27 pm

    He sold out our children for $70200.00. What a sorry piece of shit.

  52. Jackie Conrad

    February 7, 2017 at 5:45 pm

    Great. Now all children can go to school and study mushrooms on the walls (Detroit). Just why didn’t they fix the leaky walls? Oh, because their funding was sent to charter schools! If Mrs. DeVos cared about kids, would she let them go to schools that have mushrooms growing on their walls? She has enough money to fix all the schools in Detroit. But that wouldn’t feed her insatiable thirst for power. She is getting a return on her investment.

    This is just the first thing. Just wait until congress decides to send every old person a voucher to buy their own health insurance. Then they get to pay the difference out of their measly Social Security check. It’s coming. They wanted to see if they could get away with it.

  53. Nan Gilbert

    February 7, 2017 at 6:38 pm

    Obviously, he was easily swayed by her persuasiveness – $70,000.

  54. Vanessa

    February 7, 2017 at 7:52 pm

    It’s really sad to see that NC Senators believe that DeVos is the best choice. Could this administration really not have been able to put forth a candidate that had actually been a successful school administrator/teacher to put in this position. I may not know all the pros and cons of the job criteria, but I truly believe that someone that has been a part of the system would have better ideas how to help ALL the many different children from ALL walks of life that this position will affect!

    I believe that 2018 will be a year to clean NC if not the swamp!

  55. Claudia Schuler

    February 7, 2017 at 11:30 pm

    Well you sold the children out. We now know you are bought and paid for.. you do not want what is best for North Carolina or America you want what is best for your pocket. I’m ashamed that you claim to represent me. You represent yourself first and last.

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