2016-12-08 / Columns

DeVos, Romney Names Loom On Current Scene

Michigan Politics
By George Weeks

Two of the biggest Republican names in Michigan politics – DeVos and Romney – have echoed across the land as of late as president-elect Donald Trump assembles his governmental and political team.

Betsy DeVos, named by Trump to be education secretary, is former chief of the Michigan GOP and member of the Amway family, whose members long have been state and national political powers. One once was the GOP’s top national fundraiser.

She was instrumental with her husband, former Amway president Dick DeVos, who once made an unsuccessful bid for governor, in the passage of Michigan’s first charter-school bill.

Betsy DeVos chairs the American Federation of Children that supports parents in seeking the best schools for their children. While I applaud her effort on this, I note this tweet by national teachers union leader Randi Weingarten as headlined by The Wall Street Journal “Why Trump’s Education Pick Scares Unions.”

It said: “Trump has chosen the most ideological, anti-public ed nominee since the creation of the Department of Education.”

(It’s interesting, late in my journalism career, that so many quotes from key sources, including from such major figures as Trump, are tweets with all of their abbreviations.)

Also of note in The Wall Street Journal is that it cited billionaire Betsy as it noted that Trump “so far is assembling one of the wealthiest administrations in recent memory.

“In the past few weeks, Mr. Trump has appointed three fellow billionaires to top positions and at least two other millionaires to his cabinet.”

As of this writing, Michigan native Mitt Romney, ex-governor of Massachusetts and son of Michigan 1963-1969 Governor George Romney (who tried for president in 1968), was still in speculation to be nominated as secretary of state.

Mitt was among 16 Republicans to challenge Trump for the nomination, and then was a high-profile vocal critic who has been downright chummy of late in recent encounters, including a cozy dinner meeting.

Over the decades, members of the Romney family have run for president, governor, U.S. senate, and a university board.

An active family member on the current scene is Michigan Republican State Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel. She has been cited as a possible chair of the national GOP.

Michigan prospects abound in national politics.

George Weeks, a member of the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame, for 22 years was political columnist for The Detroit News and previously with UPI as Lansing bureau chief and Washington foreign editor. His weekly Political Michigan Politics column is syndicated by Superiors Features.

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