Betsy Devos: the new Education Secretary

There is the Betsy DeVos the media knows. Then there is the Betsy DeVos who is a political fighter, passionate about education, who has plunged full-force into her job as the U.S. Secretary of Education.


She is polite, treats others with respect and defers to authority even though she disagrees on some issues. For instance, she disagreed with the Trump administration over rescinding the federal policy that allowed students identifying as a different gender to use facilities of their choice. Yet, there was never a public rift between her and the president.


Yet, those who know DeVos say she is anything but meek. In fact, they say she is someone to be feared for her political prowess as well as her determination.


“I found Betsy to be very determined, steely when she sets her mind on a goal,” said former Michigan state attorney general Mike Cox.


The media, which routinely portrayed her during her confirmation process as lacking in government experience and no public education knowledge, is discovering they perhaps underestimated the Michigan native.


DeVos got involved in politics and education in the 1990s when she served on two nonprofits to promote education reform. She and her husband, Dick, helped to pass the first charter school bill in Michigan. She also chaired the Michigan Republican Party for several years and started the Great Lakes Education Project.


DeVos was raised to be a reformer. Her father, Prince of the Prince empire, was a conservative Christian. She was raised in Holland, Mich., and the cities ties to Netherland culture is given as one possible reason for her activism.


The education secretary has been on the move since she took over the department. She has been visiting schools, both public and charter, around the country to gain a grasp on how to improve the system. She went to Miami in 2017 and toured both traditional public schools, private Christian schools and a charter school established by rapper Pitbull a.k.a Armando Christian Perez.


The DeVoses continue to support causes privately. The couple has donated more than $139 million to education, cultural and political causes over their lifetimes. They gave approximately $11.6 million in 2015, the most recent year public records are available.


Follow Betsy DeVos on twitter for updates.

End Citizens United Seeks To Elevate Campaign Finance Reform

Despite the fact that single-issue campaigns sometimes seem like a relic of the past, End Citizens United is making a sustained effort to demonstrate that discussing campaign finance reform can change the balance of power in American politics.

Both sides have leveraged the abortion issue, for example. The right has activated voters and influenced politicians through the National Rifle Association. Meanwhile, liberal-minded organizations such as gained steam in times of war by getting the left active and protesting.

In recent years, big elections seem to swing more based on personality-driven leadership than anything else. The presidential campaigns of Barack Obama and Donald Trump prove this point.

However, End Citizens United, a political action committee (PAC) based in Washington, DC, is gaining momentum as a force in election years by focusing on campaign finance reform. In the wake of a 2010 Supreme Court ruling that removed certain limits on corporate funding of electoral campaigns, the PAC was created to reflect a grassroots desire to reduce the influence of corporate interests on American politics.

Like End Citizens United on Facebook.

While End Citizens United seeks to be a lasting presence in the political landscape, the organization has an urgent focus for 2016. The PAC is seeking to shake things up in November by raising and spending $35 million on congressional races in a very targeted way.

The organization is targeting the defeat of 20 Republican incumbents on its “Big Money 20” list. The list includes lawmakers who End Citizens United’s president Tiffany Muller describes as “the worst of the worst.”

Muller, a former Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee operative who also served as chief of staff to two members of Congress, is leading the PAC to create excitement on the left by generating fear among officeholders on the right.

Not only does End Citizens United call out elected officials who have the tightest ties to corporate political funding, but it also endorses and provides grassroots funding to candidates who will lead the fight for campaign finance reform.

Recently, the PAC succeeded in securing Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s pledge to reject any corporate funding of her campaign. The New York lawmaker is seen as a rising star in the Democratic Party, and thus her pledge could influence many others to also refuse corporate dollars. Meanwhile, Gillibrand’s stature as a possible presidential candidate expands her influence even more heading into the future.

End Citizens United does not, however, just put its support behind one or two flashy popular politicians. The PAC has endorsed dozens of Democratic incumbents and challengers who it thinks will help bring much needed campaign finance reform.

Dick DeVos’ Wide Circle of Influence

Dick DeVos is a very generous individual. While he was raised to give away many things by his father who started Amway, Dick and his wife Betsy rose to prominence when they helped to create Grand Action in Grand Rapids, Michigan, changing the city’s skyline forever. Today, the couple continue to advocate for changes that will make life better for everyone while sharing a particular passion for today’s youth.


Grand Action


Originally started as Grand Vision in 1991, Dick DeVos was instrumental in pursuing the building of a new convention center and sports arena in Grand Rapids. He sought input from more than 50 business leaders in a variety of industries. Today, that original committee has grown to more than 250 individuals who are responsible for galvanizing the community support which has resulted in the building of the Van Andel Arena, DeVos Place, Meijer Majestic Theater and the Grand Rapids Downtown Market. The couple gave over $50 million to create the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. The organization remains at the forefront in seeking buildings that can be converted to make the city an even better place to reside. Learn more:


Right-to-work State


Dick DeVos was instrumental in making Michigan a right-to-work state even though Michigan had been the birthplace of organized labor. Dick and Betsy DeVos gave over $2 million to defeat a pro-union constitutional amendment because they believe that Americans working side-by-side creates a free democracy that is unstoppable.


School Vouchers


Dick along with his wife believe that school vouchers give every child the right to the education that they deserve. While Dick was educated in a public school, Betsy attended a private one. When it came time to educate their own children, they sought the benefits of a private school. It was not, however, until the two met the students and staff at Potter’s House that they became convinced that great things happened in private schools regardless of economic circumstances. The husband-and-wife team generously support the work of this school along with helping to fund an aviation high school at the Grand Rapids Airport.


Political Support


The couple has also been very active in politics. They have given money to many candidates for president including Marco Rubio. Through their family foundation, they have also supported numerous political groups including American Enterprise Institute, the Federalist Society, the Heritage Foundation, Council for National Policy, the Acton Institute, Traditional Values Coalition, and the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

End Citizens United Backs Senator Warren, Tackles Campaign Finance Reform.

We know that big money and special interests in the political realm are a problem, especially in the United States. Billionaire donors are going out of their way to fundamentally sway entire elections, subverting the will of the people and breaking the concept of democracy. The problem of money in politics may seem like an enduring one but the truth is that it hasn’t always been this way. We can go back as recently as 2010 to see where it all got started: Citizens United.


Citizens United is a conservative group that lobbied the Supreme Court in order to loosen the strings of financial regulation on campaign contributions. Their surface reason was for ‘freedom’ but the deeper reason was obvious: to give millionaire and billionaire donors the chance to fundamentally sway election campaigns. Somehow Citizens United passed the smell test and the Supreme Court ruled in their favor. That was only seven years ago but the country is still in shambles.


Since this Supreme Court ruling there have been numerous PACs that have sprouted up in order to attack this ruling but few have been very successful. End Citizens United is run by President Tiffany Muller, a former adviser to Democrats in the Senate. Muller has been able to get things going in a big way, generating interest and bringing in sizable contributions from everyday Americans looking to fight back against the oppressive ruling class. Muller cites the rise of Donald Trump and the anger of independents and progressives as the primary driving force behind her success.


The goal for 2017 is for End Citizens United to raise a staggering $35 million. Through the first three months of the year the team at End Citizens United managed to raise over 100,000 individual donations that totaled out to nearly $4 million. These donations came from everyday Americans who felt that they were losing sight of their country and being ignored in favor of people like Donald Trump and the billionaire Koch Brothers. These donations allow End Citizens United to endorse legislators who will actively fight against the Citizens United decision in the Supreme Court.


After endorsing Jon Ossoff in his exciting run in Georgia, a deep red state, End Citizens United has gotten back to work with finding more politicians to reach out to. Most recently End Citizens United endorsed Senator Elizabeth Warren, one of the top Democrats in the entire Senate. Senator Warren is one of the most popular Democrats on Capitol Hill and she may one day actually run for President. Warren is vocally anti-Citizens United and has promised to attack campaign finance reform. Senator Warren and End Citizens United make a perfect match and could be a game changer in the future.