Bill Nelson declares he’ll vote against Betsy DeVos; vote may come down to Mike Pence
Bill Nelson

Bill Nelson

Florida’s Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson broke the suspense Wednesday afternoon when he announced he intends to vote against President Donald Trump‘s pick to be Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, whose family has strong ties in Nelson’s Orlando hometown.

With defections of two Republican U.S. senators who announced earlier that they would vote against DeVos, the Republican champion of school choice was down to slim hopes of winning the nomination, needing to hold all remaining Republicans or pick off a Democrat like Nelson.

Nelson, who had been silent until now on the nomination, seemed to imply with his announcement Wednesday that the Republican moderates leaving Trump’s pick provided cover in the middle.

“I will be joining my Republican colleagues Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski in voting ‘no’ against Betsy DeVos,” he declared in a statement issued by his office.

With two Republicans not supporting DeVos, there is now a potential for 51-50 vote in the Senate, leaving Vice President Pence to break the tie.

West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, who faces re-election in 2018, told The Hill Wednesday he would not support DeVos: Her “lack of exposure to public education is very concerning for me.”

A tiebreaker would be the first time a vice president has cast a deciding vote on a nomination, as well as the first time a vice president was called to break a tie in the Senate March 2008, when Dick Cheney cast the deciding vote on a congressional tax cut package.

Democrats blasted DeVos earlier this week after The Washington Post reported her committee-submitted questionnaire appeared to have used “several sentences and phrases from other sources without attribution — including from a top Obama administration civil rights official.”

Despite that, Republicans continue to remain confident they have enough backing to confirm DeVos, although they cannot afford to lose any more GOP votes since no Democrats will vote in her favor.

“I have 100 percent confidence she will be the next secretary of Education,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters Wednesday.

The DeVos family officially resides in Grand Rapids, Mich., but has close ties in both Orlando and Naples. In Orlando, Nelson’s home, the family owns the Orlando Magic basketball team and is active in civic affairs.

The family, led by Betsy Devos’s parents, Rich and Helen DeVos, are major political campaign contributors, whose family total approaches $9 million in donations since 1999. Almost all of it has gone to Republicans and Republican causes, though the family has backed the occasional Democrat, such as U.S. Rep. Darren Soto of Orlando. However, the family has never backed Nelson, and has contributed to his Republican opponents.


Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected]


  • lynn

    February 1, 2017 at 7:42 pm

    Nelson is part of the political swamp that needs to be emptied. Not voting for Voss is a politicalyl based

    • Jules

      February 1, 2017 at 10:42 pm

      Oh, I thought the fact that she was completely unqualified plagiarized her responses to the Senate hearing committee and the fact that she overall has absolutely no idea about anything concerning education is not enough? He’s filling the swamp up just with new creatures.

      • Karen

        February 2, 2017 at 6:59 am

        Your comments makes no sense, where are your facts?
        The brilliant experienced educators have been in charge for a half century and look where we are, dumbing down our kids with Common Core! Do you call this progress?

        • Jeff

          February 2, 2017 at 11:15 am

          Dumbed them down enough to vote for Trump for sure.

        • 33037

          February 2, 2017 at 11:45 am

          I guess you don’t understand Common Core! It makes sense as it help kids understand the concepts of math instead of memorizing the results like I did as a kid. You as a parent can help your kids memorize if you think that’s all there is to math!

          • Rick

            February 3, 2017 at 11:31 am

            I’m quite familiar with CC as I am a teacher. The problem isn’t with the ideas behind common core. It’s how they’re being implemented in the schools. And the fact that it’s just a way to get around the law against a governmental national curriculum. How many states have pulled out of CC state testing or the standards completely?

          • Cook

            February 3, 2017 at 1:56 pm

            Ok but you teach a child strategies that cause confusion and not to mention giving a child 5 different ways to do one type of problems is ridiculous. This common core teaches kids how to pass a test and not teach them anything. I have 4 in the school system that are very stressed out still doing well with my help in teaching the old school ways of memorization.

          • Bonnie

            February 5, 2017 at 8:42 pm

            Well said. People are judging common core without an understanding of its benefits. It’s frustrating to parents whose only exposure to common core is homework time. I’m often skeptical of new programs in school, but after observing our first graders for a few years, I’m on board with common core.

        • Jeanne Monteau

          February 2, 2017 at 6:23 pm

          Have you actually read CommonCore? Have you used these standards to teach English Language Arts or Math? You may be opposed to it but it is not dumbing down anything!

        • Monty

          February 2, 2017 at 6:30 pm

          The facts were there for all to see if you watch her hearing answers and saw her plagiarized (no reference) writings. Do you guys ever want to pay attention to the real world?

        • Jenny Smith

          February 2, 2017 at 7:54 pm

          Blame the government for Common Core. A great number of teachers hate it as it places too much emphasis on teaching to the test and not learning and retention of knowledge.

          • Ann

            February 4, 2017 at 2:36 pm

            The common core came about after the armed forces told the governors in 2000 that the applicants couldn’t pass the armed forces exam. I teach and I support the common core. Mostly because as a child I moved several times, now when a child moves the can get the same quality education

          • Jack Wagenti

            February 5, 2017 at 6:29 pm

            There is a high demand for all-inclusive education. This is not something that can be accomplished in the public-school arena. There are many families with both typical and atypical children. There needs to be a place for these children and families, where they be can educated together. Truly educated together, side by side in a classroom. This will never happen in the machine known as the public-school system.

            I am a grand-parent of both a typical and atypical child. Not only does the public-school monopoly separate families like mine, but, as soon as a school has reached their maximum capacity it is the atypical students that are moved and shipped off to another facility, again, and again. This is a disgrace since these are the ones that need the most stability.

            As a Florida resident, our special needs children are given a scholarship to be enrolled in private schools. The scholarship amount awarded for use in private school does not compare to the funds allotted for that child if they were to remain in public school. This is a disgrace.

            My son attends a private, not-for-profit, all-inclusive school called CuttingEdge Learning Academy. Here my child is not categorized by his “special need”. They believe each and every child is a gift from God, and has such, been given a special gift or talent that can be built upon. They treat each student with dignity and humility. They believe in building children up, tapping into their talents, and helping them to reach their full potential. They do all this in an all-inclusive classroom. The atypical students have great role models in the typical students, and the typical students are becoming the most amazing, nurturing human beings possible. This type of education will change society for the better.

        • Kevin

          February 2, 2017 at 8:57 pm

          Common core was conceived and generated by politicians from both parties, with virtually no input from actual educators.

        • Teresa

          February 2, 2017 at 9:13 pm

          Actually, educators had little to nothing to do with creating or approving Common Core. It came from politicians and business people. When the actual standards were written, no classroom teachers were involved. Please make sure you have searched for the facts and don’t believe the false rhetoric against educators.

          • Bob Metz

            February 3, 2017 at 8:48 pm

            I knew nothing of common core until helping my grandson with his homework one night. I was put off initially thinking my old school way is faster and easier, and I am right it is. Which is great if you want to think rote for the rest of your life. What I suddenly realized by following the steps as he was instructed; I was not thinking rote. I was thinking mathematically as to why a solution arrived at was correct. My old method I was taught is great for quick solutions, but to understand the why and potential in upper levels of mathematics CC gets a student started off right. Most important to me was, my grandson is being taught not just to do, but to think as well. He’s learning how to use that God given mind…to see abstractly…to use his imagination for creativity not just settling for doing. I am sold on Common Core…on the other hand I am not sold on Betsy Devos.

        • ML

          February 2, 2017 at 11:32 pm

          Common Core was supported across the party line. Try factchecking.

        • Eddie

          February 3, 2017 at 5:18 pm

          U are wright that common core is dumb but devos is the biggest advocate of common core

        • Bob Metz

          February 3, 2017 at 8:32 pm

          So we should go for an inexperienced woman…who knows nothing of current educational requirements and law…who based on the evidence of her plagiarism is a liar, a cheat and a thief of other people’s work…a fine example of the leadership needed for our kids…

        • Lynn

          February 4, 2017 at 8:18 pm

          We do NOT have common core. You’re dumb. It’s people like you and DeVos that chase highly qualified teachers out and less qualified people in.

        • Robin Aslakson

          February 5, 2017 at 2:32 am

          She doesn’t know the difference between student growth and student proficiency. Teacher evaluations are partially based on one but not the other. She also was clueless about federal law that covers special education students. Do you need more…

        • Michael

          February 5, 2017 at 9:25 pm

          The Common Core is not a Department of Education initiative. So your point is…?

          • Karen

            February 6, 2017 at 12:33 pm

            It is a presidential initiative i.e. the Bush family making billions publishing curriculum, books, materials! Control of the masses by controling what is taught in the schools! Teachers following a script instead of using their creativity!

        • KEVIN

          February 6, 2017 at 10:07 am

          Common core – examining history, reading sources, questioning validity, developing ideas, analyzing data, etc.

          Your perception of learning – rote memorization of information that kids will forget in ten minutes.

        • Mindy

          February 6, 2017 at 8:28 pm

          Common core is one of the best things I have seen since my children started in school. My youngest son who started with it in kindergarten will have a far superior education then my two graduated children. They only thing this country needs to do is quit changing teaching methods every couple of years so educators can master how to teach this way.

        • Robert Bethune

          February 6, 2017 at 9:01 pm

          You clearly don’t understand the CCSS. If you did, you’d understand that the focus on writing across the curriculum, critical thinking, science, and mathematics are exactly where American students are lacking compared to our international competition. The need for deep thinkers is critical to the developments in next the round of scientific and technical developments. If you want to leave those developments to the Chinese and others then we can can the CCSS and keep creating a generation of non-thinkers. This may be good for the right wing of American political life, deep thinkers don’t vote Republican, but it is bad for the nation as a whole.

        • Anna

          February 7, 2017 at 9:12 am

          I guarantee my “dumb” common core 9 year old can out mental math you anyway, anywhere, anytime. Karen. Why don’t you learn a little about common core before you slam it. I think it’s the dumbing down of parents and adults that needs fixing. All my kids have learned common core their whole schooling. I have a 7th grader doing taking classes skipping 7th grade math and science altogether and went straight to 8th grade the first semester and now is onto 9th grade. He will have two years of college done by the time he graduates high school. Year they’re producing real idiots here with this common core. Stop dissing common core and figure it out like I did. I actually learned it too so I could be aware of what my kids were learning. My mental math skills have sharpened along the way even though it’s common sense and I’ve been doing many of these things all my life without labeling them.

          • Anna

            February 7, 2017 at 9:14 am

            Since I can’t edit my comment. I’ll apologize for my grammatical errors. I get agitated with this subject and was typing too fast for my own good.

          • Karen

            February 7, 2017 at 4:46 pm

            Sorry libs, Betsy is in?

      • Bert Owens

        February 2, 2017 at 10:09 am

        Thank you Bill Nelson.

      • Sophia

        February 2, 2017 at 2:07 pm

        I’m with you 100 percent! Well said!

      • Jonathan Rappaport

        February 2, 2017 at 6:04 pm

        Have you read the common core, and do you know what the contents of it are? I believe there are problems with all mandate curriculum frameworks, but not for because people have heard they are bad and have no idea of what is really in them.

      • Eric

        February 6, 2017 at 1:07 am

        I couldn’t agree more. The swamp is very dangerous now.

    • Eva Wilson

      February 1, 2017 at 10:46 pm

      You Lie!

      Competence required for this position she need not apply

    • Andy

      February 1, 2017 at 11:35 pm

      Be careful. Your ignorance is showing.

    • Patty

      February 2, 2017 at 6:35 am

      Thank god he is voting against her!!! You wouldn’t be saying that he is part of the swamp if you bothered to look into what she has done to Detroit Michigan schools! She is totally unqualified! She has no experience in school administration except throwing money at the failing charter system in Detroit!

    • Karen

      February 2, 2017 at 7:15 am

      I totally agree and thank goodness Nelson will be gone in 2018.
      Do any of you have any idea how awful “common core” is?
      Did you know that Duval county has approved “Engage New York” a common core curriculum that teaches Islam to first graders? That teachers are required to follow a “script” leaving no room for creativity? Go ahead and Google “Engage New York” and see what other schools districts and teachers have to say about it then tell me what a wonderful job all these brilliant educators have done for your kids!

      • PoliSciGirl

        February 2, 2017 at 12:26 pm

        Are you aware, though, the the governors actually requested Common Core of the Department of Education? So, essentially, your governor asked for that?

        • Karen

          February 2, 2017 at 4:50 pm

          Governor Scott does not control local school districts. I have been following Duval County & their purchase of the “Engage NY” curriculum. The governor had no input here.

          • Grace

            February 5, 2017 at 8:55 am

            No as I said before to you Karen, common core is a set of standards and your SCHOOL COMITTE is what sets your curriculum.

      • Jeanne

        February 2, 2017 at 6:29 pm

        I have worked with the commoncore standards at various grade levels and I honestly have no idea what you are talking about! There is no script! They are standards. Curriculum and standards are not the same thing. I see creativity galore in classrooms. Of course, I can’t speak for Duval County.

        • Anna

          February 7, 2017 at 9:18 am

          Thank you Jeanne!! Karen please do some research.

          • Jeanne

            February 7, 2017 at 11:37 am

            At my grand daughter said when she was in fifth grade, “Grandma, kids don’t have trouble with common core math; parents do.”

      • Jack

        February 2, 2017 at 6:39 pm

        Common Core was a Republican backed initiative. Funny how republicans are now against it!

      • Ann

        February 3, 2017 at 10:39 am

        24. Identify Judaism, Christianity, and IsEngage NY is one suggested curriculum for implementing Common Core. There are plenty of other curricula out there. Districts that don’t want to spend money on text books love it because it is all online. Here are about 25 of 80 objectives for the Early World Civilizations Domain in Listening & Learning strand of the English Language Arts curriculum. There are 11 domains covered in first grade (along with an ELA skills strand, math, science, social studies, art, music and physical education). Hopefully this provides a little perspective. Open up the anthology online and see what’s actually taught about the cultures of Christianity, Judaism and Islam.
        lam as major monotheistic world religions;
        25. Locate Jerusalem, Israel, and the area known as the Middle East on a map;
        26. Define monotheism as the belief in one God;
        27. Identify the Western Wall (or the Wailing Wall) as associated with Judaism, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre with Christianity, and the Dome of the Rock with Islam;
        28. Identify the Hebrews as the ancient people who were descendants of Abraham;
        29. Explain that followers of Judaism are called Jewish people and the term Jewish is used to describe practices or objects associated with Judaism;
        30. Identify the Star of David as a six-pointed star and a symbol of Judaism;
        31. Identify the Torah as an important part of the Hebrew scriptures;
        32. Identify that a Jewish house of worship is called a synagogue or temple;
        33. Identify Moses as a teacher who long ago led the Jewish people out of Egypt in an event referred to as the Exodus;
        34. Explain that, according to an important story in the Torah, Moses received the Ten Commandments from God and that the Ten Commandments are rules that tell people how to behave or live their lives;
        35. Identify important Jewish holidays such as Passover, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Hanukkah;
        36. Explain that Christianity developed after Judaism;
        37. Explain that followers of Christianity are called Christians;
        38. Recognize the cross as a symbol of Christianity;
        39. Identify the Bible as the Christian holy book;
        40. Identify that a Christian house of worship is called a church;
        41. Identify that Christians believe Jesus to be the Messiah and the son of God;
        42. Identify important Christian holidays, such as Easter and Christmas;
        43. Recognize that both Christians and Jewish people follow the Ten Commandments;
        44. Explain that Islam originated in Arabia;
        45. Explain that followers of Islam are called Muslims;
        46. Identify the crescent and star as symbols of Islam;
        47. Identify the Qur’an as the holy book of Islam, containing laws for daily living and many stories that appear in Jewish and Christian holy books;
        48. Identify that a Muslim place of worship is called a mosque;
        49. Identify that Muslims believe that Moses and Jesus were prophets but believe that Muhammad was the last and greatest of the prophets;
        50. Identify important Muslim holidays, such as Ramadan and Eid-ul-fitr;

        • Mindy

          February 6, 2017 at 8:32 pm

          So your problem is about teaching history and tolerance about beliefs? New York is diverse as is Florida. Children can learn better in diverse environments when they understand and respect their differences.

      • Grace

        February 5, 2017 at 8:51 am

        Karen, that is what is so irritating about naysayers to common core. If you read it, there is no where that states ANY specific text. If your district chooses to include something from Islam that is the choice your district makes. Your district is also CHOOSING to implement engage New York. Your problem is with your school committee not common core. They are just a set of standards. How your district goes about implementing them is their choice.

    • Sandra Dee

      February 2, 2017 at 7:39 am

      Shut up, Betsy. I know it’s you because no intelligent person with an ounce of integrity or conscience would defend your appointment.

    • face facts

      February 2, 2017 at 10:14 am

      Your reasoning ability is equal to your spelling ability. If anyone needs education it is you!

    • Henry

      February 2, 2017 at 11:09 am

      You are commenting on the secrartary of education. At the very least, try and use proper grammmar and spelling.

      • Tess

        February 2, 2017 at 5:12 pm

        He says, while misspelling “secretary.”

    • Proof yourself

      February 2, 2017 at 11:19 am

      I ask you not weigh in on matters regarding education and politics with a comment like that. DeVos/politically* motivated*

    • Susan E Osborn

      February 2, 2017 at 11:37 am

      she is completely unqualified. She also doesn’t believe in Public Education, preferring “Christian” education or private education.

    • Lauren

      February 2, 2017 at 12:05 pm

      You don’t even know the name of the candidate for Ed Secretary that you’re supporting. I don’t suppose you listened to her confirmation hearings where she demonstrated very clearly how unqualified she is.

    • mimiMH

      February 2, 2017 at 3:18 pm

      Are you blind and deaf? She knows nothing about education. Is a candidate because her family contributed to campaigns-2 million to the recent elections. She thinks (out of her own mouth) that teachers need guns to protect against grizzly bears and doesn’t know the diffetence between proficiency and growth.

      • Damiel

        February 5, 2017 at 9:16 am

        Very articulate. Try to avoid sending too many letters home to parents. Public education already has enough image problems.

    • Claudia

      February 2, 2017 at 3:28 pm

      Oh, and she wouldn’t even qualify as a teacher. Your response is politically based. Thank you Nelson.

    • Mandy

      February 2, 2017 at 8:35 pm

      It’s DeVos not Voss. It’s politically not whatever you wrote😂😂😂😂. You should not be commenting on this post since you can barely write.😂😂😂😂

      • Karen

        February 3, 2017 at 8:11 am

        I don’t understand the reason for snarky personal insults here. Come on folks let’s share opinions without insulting each other.

        • christine bergland

          February 5, 2017 at 11:38 pm

          I agree…one reduces one’s credibility when resorting to personal insults. And this discussion isn’t truly about “Common Core” is it? The argument is whether or not someone who appears to be wholly unqualified to run a gigantic department of our government, affecting millions of people.

          • Karen

            February 6, 2017 at 12:22 pm

            In your opinion!

    • M F

      February 2, 2017 at 11:18 pm

      1) A little proofreading goes a long way.
      2) Her surname is in no way shape or form “Voss.” Brush up on the appointees you’re being paid to pretend to support.
      3) If you’re a true Floridian, you will recognize swamps as valuable ecosystems that require study and conservation, especially when they serve to mitigate pollution and filter waste.

    • Ian Bain

      February 3, 2017 at 5:40 am

      What about all the voting FOR Voss? Is that not politically based? Otherwise, no-one would confirm this woman who is completely unsuitable for the role.

    • Van

      February 3, 2017 at 7:04 am


    • Jennifer

      February 3, 2017 at 1:19 pm

      It’s DeVos. Probably a good idea to know the name of the candidate you’re supporting!

    • John

      February 3, 2017 at 1:24 pm

      That’s not the issue. DeVos doesn’t support public schools. Her agenda is private schools and vouchers. I guess you missed that and only vote for who Trump wants. Blind! Can’t you do a little research and form your own opinion? Sheep!

    • Joseph Gonzales

      February 3, 2017 at 4:48 pm

      Judging by your spelling skills, I assume you are a proud product of DeVos’s charter school system!!

    • Joan Myers

      February 3, 2017 at 5:10 pm

      Her name is DeVos, but you must not know or care that she has zero experience.

    • Susan

      February 3, 2017 at 6:16 pm

      Your comment only emphasizes the need for stronger public education.

    • Lenc

      February 3, 2017 at 9:35 pm

      But a great idea

    • Liz

      February 4, 2017 at 2:20 am

      I’d like to know specifically why she is not being supported. What is the conflict, belief, or knowledge that makes her unacceptable.

      • Debbie

        February 6, 2017 at 6:19 pm

        She has never been a teacher, her children did not go to public school, she believes schools should have a Christian orientation, she does not support public schools, she has no education background. There are many more qualified people but since she is a big donor, the secretary position is her payback.

        • Karen

          February 7, 2017 at 8:53 am

          It is so obvious that all of you people who object to Betsy DeVos are doing so because she is President Trump’s choice.
          Sorry Democrats but school choice, vouchers, magnet & charter schools, less federal over reach will be the new norm! Go Trump!!

    • Tricia

      February 4, 2017 at 9:23 am

      How can you support that woman? My children and all of America’s children deserve someone so qualified than her. We need to protect, not destroy our public schools. I am disgusted by partisan politics that could put the most unqualified person ever into this important role. Pathetic.

    • DV

      February 4, 2017 at 12:43 pm

      You want to talk about a “Swamp” everyone he has offered up to help Our United States are so very deep in that swamp! A vote for B Voss is so very wrong for public education. As a parent of two Public School Teachers I am very proud of the job they are doing. All teachers need a salary that they can live on. They all should have the tools to teach our young with out having to pay for things themselves.

    • Maryann, retired public school teacher

      February 4, 2017 at 2:25 pm

      Did you learn how to spell in a DeVos supported charter school?

    • Maryann, retired public school teacher

      February 4, 2017 at 2:29 pm

      Did you learn how to spell in a DeVos supported charter school? Also, the Common Core State Standards were a political creation.


      February 4, 2017 at 11:22 pm

      Who cares why?

    • Joy

      February 5, 2017 at 7:28 am

      The woman has some issues that ideology that do not belong in our educational system. She is not qualified for this position.

    • Michelle

      February 5, 2017 at 11:20 am

      DeVos has no education or job experience that would make her eligible for this job. When questioned during the Senate hearing she had no knowledge about any of the laws that govern education. Her nomination is a political pay off by Trump – opposing her nomination is responsible government.

    • Lisa

      February 5, 2017 at 11:34 am

      How about not voting because she’s totally incompetent, doesn’t believe in fair education for all and is a complete moron? Not to mention that only reason she was nominated is because of multi millions of dollars her family has given to the party. Bought and paid.

    • Joe Franklin

      February 5, 2017 at 4:51 pm

      POLITICALLY, not politicalyl – this is why public education is so important.

    • India

      February 5, 2017 at 10:09 pm

      The woman is not qualify to hold the position. Edcation begets educational rewards.

    • Peter

      February 5, 2017 at 11:59 pm

      No brainer Voss is without a background in education should stick to being useless elsewhere

    • V

      February 6, 2017 at 4:03 am

      It’s ALL politically based you idiot! That’s what they do!

    • Raquel James

      February 6, 2017 at 7:12 pm

      Please don’t support DeVos. She is not qualified! She doesn’t believe in improving public education but will dismantle it! Having retired after 33 years of teaching, I am shocked at this selection. Please, please listen to those who have been with students.

    • Michael R Garber

      February 6, 2017 at 11:24 pm

      My god, he’s a Democrat, what’s the big deal…

    • Melanie

      February 7, 2017 at 2:11 am

      You can’t even spell her name right, you moron.

  • J. Richardson

    February 1, 2017 at 7:48 pm

    He better vote NO to DeVos, If not there will be a whole lot of people voting no to him, Education should be a RIGHT not a privilege for the rich. Please just vote NO,NO,NO to DeVos.

  • Mike Coburn

    February 1, 2017 at 7:48 pm

    Senator you are making a terrible choice on not confirming Mrs. Devoss. The department of education needs to be totally revamped.

    • Jen

      February 1, 2017 at 8:46 pm

      Clearly, since several of the people commenting that she should be confirmed can’t even spell her name correctly.

      If you watched ANY part of her confirmation hearing it was obvious that DeVos didn’t even prepare for questions at the confirmation, let alone the actual job. She couldn’t even articulate the difference between proficiency and growth, and her answer to virtually every question was “I look forward to working with you to figure that out.”

    • Tim

      February 1, 2017 at 9:43 pm

      Revamped is one thing, but putting an unqualified, non-educator in charge because she is RICH? Thousands of brilliant minds in the field of education and she couldn’t answer the most basic questions. She would be in charge of higher education loan and grant programs worth billions and has probably never had to balance a checkbook. She is not UNDERqualified, she is totally UNqualified.

      • Victoria

        February 2, 2017 at 2:07 am

        Tim I couldn’t agree more with you! She didn’t know the difference between proficiency and growth! My personal favorite to show her complete stupidity was the guns and grizzlies! She would be a travesty for this nations education system. She’s never stepped foot in a public school, he’ll she probably couldn’t even tell you the 5 largest school districts in the nation, I’ll give her a hint I live in one of them!

    • lab

      February 1, 2017 at 10:41 pm

      But not by someone who knows nothing about public education which is 51 million children.

    • Karen C.

      February 2, 2017 at 5:05 am

      It may need to be revamped however let’s choose a more qualified candidate that is ready for the job.

      • PoliSciGirl

        February 2, 2017 at 12:27 pm

        Yes, indeed!

    • k

      February 2, 2017 at 10:13 am

      yes, clearly DOE needs to be revamped starting with spelling; spelling of the name you are advocating for…

  • Kathleen Minor

    February 1, 2017 at 7:55 pm

    Please vote in favor of the Supreme Court Justice whom President Trump nominated last evening.
    It is time to put injured feelings behind and do what is best for our country. This is a fantastic nominee for our Supreme Court.
    By voting in favor of this nominee you could demonstrate some true maturity in your party, something they are in need of.

    • Red State Independent

      February 1, 2017 at 9:26 pm

      Kathleen Minor- your argument would be more persuasive if you didn’t end your post with dig at Democrat “maturity”. You almost sounded civil there for a moment, until that last sentence (almost).

    • Lori L

      February 2, 2017 at 12:55 am

      How is she fantastic? What experience in education qualifies her?

    • Actually knows something

      February 2, 2017 at 11:38 am

      How many of his decisions have you read? What is his judicial
      Philosophy? How would he address the citizens united issue? Would bet the ranch you are just parroting the faux news position which is against the protections of the constitution

    • sophia

      February 2, 2017 at 5:35 pm

      “fantastic nominee” Kathleen? with ZERO experience??? seriously? have you read her credentials? she knows nothing about public schools .

    • Joseph Gonzales

      February 3, 2017 at 4:56 pm

      Never end a sentence in a preposition! Don’t they teach anything in these charter schools?

    • Lenc

      February 3, 2017 at 9:37 pm

      You’re kidding Kathleen right ?

  • Dee

    February 1, 2017 at 8:42 pm

    And yes, DeVoss is so competent she recommended guns in schools in case of grizzlies. Really? Besides being a rich woman with not one second of educational experience, she is truly stupid with the bear comment.

  • Francis Duff

    February 1, 2017 at 9:12 pm

    Please vote no on secretary of education, our future depends on our children’s education. It is not a privileged it is a necessity

  • David Y Van Camp

    February 1, 2017 at 9:12 pm

    I can’t believe that you would boycott a committee meeting. That to me is un-American.

    • James

      February 1, 2017 at 11:53 pm

      Tell that to the Republicans who have done this throughout the Obama presidency.

    • Henry

      February 2, 2017 at 12:00 pm

      David. Have you ever looked at C-span and seen all the empty seats in every committee hearing? I have rarely seen a full committee and often a rely a quarum

  • Jen

    February 1, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    Thank you for voting no. Now Rubio needs to do the same.

    • Melissa Mann

      February 2, 2017 at 4:24 am

      Could not agree more!!!!

    • Steve

      February 2, 2017 at 12:59 pm

      Rubio might posture about a candidate but he is just a tool & will ALWAYS end up voting the party line. Don’t be fooled into thinking otherwise.

  • Bonnie

    February 1, 2017 at 9:17 pm

    Unfortunately Senator Nelson is a career and partisan politician. I have personally asked him to help with insurance for the uninsured and he has responded that he knows insurance as the insurance commissioner for the state of Florida. But in all of the years he had supposedly represented the citizens of Florida, he has only voted for the Affordable Care Act, he has not done anything for us. Surely he could have done something before eight years ago.

  • Linda Roberson

    February 1, 2017 at 9:37 pm

    Thank you, Senator Nelson, for your vote not to confirm the unqualified Betsy DeVos. Please stand firm in opposition to Jeff Sessions and Neal Gorsuch. Please oppose any trump nominee for the stolen Supreme Court seat.

  • Maryann Huddleston

    February 1, 2017 at 10:10 pm

    There are many qualified education experts, let’s vote for actual experience. Please do not for for her.

  • Myra

    February 1, 2017 at 10:27 pm

    Thank you Senator Nelson for not supporting this unqualified candidate. She has no relevant experience, doesn’t know the law, didn’t prepare for her hearings.

  • Maryann Huddleston

    February 1, 2017 at 10:46 pm

    Please vote no. Thank you.

  • Marla Benik

    February 2, 2017 at 12:47 am

    Thank you for voting no. Now Rubio needs to do the same.

  • Shelley Johnson

    February 2, 2017 at 1:55 am

    Senator Nelson, Oppose Neal Gorsuch and Jeff Sessions!! Do the right thing !!
    Thank you for opposing Betsy DeVos! She is totally unqualified to be the Secretary of Education!


    February 2, 2017 at 2:49 am

    nelson cot to go he is the swamp to vote against BE VOS and appose her is not productive like he vote with obama care i like to know how much money the teachers union contribute in his re election

  • Vote no for surpreme court justice and the attorney general.

    February 2, 2017 at 6:20 am

    Vote no

  • Karen Olson

    February 2, 2017 at 6:47 am

    Sounds like Betsy De Vos is a smart woman who thinks outside the box. Duval schools were terrible 40 years ago when I came to Jax and nothing has improved. School system needs new ideas and new ways of approaching our kids who are a lot smarter now than they were back when. Parents should not be forced to pay taxes to support teachers unions and failing schools while paying private school tuition or homeschooling their kids.
    Education is the only way to succeed in the tough world we live in and it is imperative that parents are given a choice where to send their kids to achieve their dreams.

    • Susan E Osborn

      February 2, 2017 at 11:41 am

      So ”smart” that she advocated for guns in schools to protect the students from Grizzly Bears. I was utterly flabbergasted by that insane comment.

      • Karen

        February 2, 2017 at 4:30 pm

        I would think that if there were grizzly bears in the area of a school it would be prudent for the staff to have protection for the kids, like a firearm! Citizens who live in rural wild areas rely on their weapons for survival.
        You’re making a big deal out of nothing!

        • Gaalbladder

          February 3, 2017 at 10:37 am

          Wrong. You’re being a partisan hack.

  • Annette Walker

    February 2, 2017 at 8:48 am

    Thank you Senator Nelson.

  • Cory L Zacharia

    February 2, 2017 at 8:50 am

    Thank you, Senator Nelson. You’ve got my vote.

  • Rita Reik

    February 2, 2017 at 10:11 am

    Thank you Senator Nelson!

  • RickD

    February 2, 2017 at 11:36 am

    Big difference in revamped and destroyed. This lady has absolutely no public education experience! Were you all not for, Pay to Play!

  • Rebecca Zucker

    February 2, 2017 at 12:12 pm

    Vote Yes, Senator Bill Nelson. The parents and students deserve voucher choice and support.

    • Karen

      February 2, 2017 at 4:44 pm

      Vouchers for inner-city families and all families for that matter who really want to get their kids out of poor performing schools would be a gift from God. Teachers unions don’t want vouchers & school choice because it’s all about the money.

  • Eve

    February 2, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    adults/parents failure to understand common core is a failure of their own education and deeper understanding of the material. I read through a math problem that a commentor was complaining about and it was very intuitive. Governors that rejected common core had some of the worst performing schools systems in the country.

  • Rhonda

    February 2, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    Thank you Senator Nelson!!

  • Deby

    February 2, 2017 at 2:28 pm

    While education needs to be improved. She is NOT qualified to do that.

    • Karen Olson

      February 2, 2017 at 6:23 pm

      I respect your comment but out of respect to all of those reading what you have to say please give a reason so as not to waste our time .

  • Sherry Gould

    February 2, 2017 at 2:50 pm

    Thank you Senator Nelson

  • Kathleen Murphy Posey

    February 2, 2017 at 4:43 pm

    Thanks for standing up for us, Sen. Nelson. If only more would vote no.

  • Maria Price

    February 2, 2017 at 6:28 pm

    So thankful that one of our Senators is actually listening to his constituents and voting not strictly b party lines but according to the vast Majority. Given the public outcry apparent by the increase in communications to political representatives and number of protests happening throughout the country, any sane human person must conclude that the populous is in opposition to current the current administion’s policies and positions.

  • rayford riels

    February 2, 2017 at 6:33 pm

    Kathleen the very “zenith” of your party wants 2 grab women by the pussy, real maturity for u.

  • Patti.

    February 2, 2017 at 8:14 pm

    Thank you Bill Nelson. These Trump supporters would expect you to confirm a goat if the Donald nominated it. No intelligent person from either political party should confirm this inexperienced and ignorant person.

  • Betty

    February 2, 2017 at 10:24 pm

    Betsy is married to a DeVos Rich and Helen are her in-laws. She comes from the Prince family. Her brother is Eric Prince of Blackwater fame. I am anti DeVos but get your facts straight.

  • Duska

    February 2, 2017 at 11:00 pm

    Thank God !

  • Duska Case

    February 2, 2017 at 11:01 pm

    Please consider an experienced educator, godspeed

    • Duska Case

      February 2, 2017 at 11:02 pm


  • Nann

    February 3, 2017 at 3:55 am

    Richard and Helen DeVos are Betsy Prince DeVos’ inlaws . Richard DeVos co-created the Amway fortune. Betsy is the daughter of Edgar and Elsa Prince if Holland Michigan. Betsy has a fortune of her own to wield, which she does, according to her own family’s thrust, which is to benefit, enforce and “normalize” the objectives of ultra conservative, right-wing Christian throwback organizations, Betsy’s brother, by the way, is none other than Erik Prince, of Blackwater fame.

  • Darlene Neuenfeld

    February 3, 2017 at 10:28 am

    Thank you.

  • Judy Pelon

    February 3, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    It’s all about the teachers unit and not the kids. We must think more about the kids. What we have now is NOT working. Our kids are being indoctrinated and the left knows it. Vote for Betsy

  • Jack Wagenti

    February 4, 2017 at 10:41 am

    This is Senator Nelson last year in the United States Senate. Senator Nelson’s Democratic Party is more important to him the the people that voted him into the Senate. Senator Nelson voted against the people that voted for him when he voted for party over Kate’s Law. WE the voters want to see Governor Scott run against Senator Nelson in the primary and with President and Marco Rubino’s support, NELSON you are fired.

  • Connie Maxey

    February 4, 2017 at 7:55 pm

    Thank you, Senator, for caring about our children.

  • drsteve

    February 4, 2017 at 8:31 pm

    Well there you go, i really thought that Nelson was dead or retired. That astronut is still in office, who knew??


    February 5, 2017 at 8:59 am


  • Katie,Florida resident

    February 5, 2017 at 10:35 am

    Thank you.

  • Marie Pickard

    February 6, 2017 at 7:32 pm

    Thank you for caring about the children!

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Jason Delgado, Renzo Downey, Daniel Figueroa, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Kelly Hayes, Joe Henderson, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Andrew Wilson, Mike Wright, and Tristan Wood.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Sign up for Sunburn