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Trump Taps Michigan Lawmaker to Head Up Career and Technical Education

By Alyson Klein — October 02, 2017 1 min read
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President Donald Trump has tapped Tim Kelly, a Michigan state representative to serve as assistant secretary for career and technical education.

In that role, Kelly, who was nominated late Friday, would oversee the $1 billion Perkins Career and Technical Education program, which is due for a makeover. The House has already passed legislation updating the program, but the Senate has yet to act.

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos also hails from Michigan and has worked closely with Kelly in the past, including on expanding school choice, according to the Detroit News. Kelly chairs the House panel that oversees K-12 spending, as well as a committee that deals with K-12 policy.

“We both believe in universal choice, but this (position) is more about trying to do what we can for kids, instead of loading them up with debt and pushing everybody into four-year college degrees, maybe seeing what we can do for kids who might do well in technical training,” Kelly told The Detroit News back in May.

Kelly is only the fifth person to be formally nominated by the White House for a U.S. Department of Education post. DeVos was confirmed as secretary in February. Peter Oppenheim, a former aide to Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., is already serving as the assistant secretary in charge of congressional affairs.

And last week, the White House nominated Jim Blew, a veteran school choice advocate, as the assistant secretary for planning, evaluation, and policy. Meanwhile, Carlos Muñiz, who worked for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, is under consideration in the Senate to serve as the agency’s general counsel.

Frank Brogan, a former Florida lieutenant governor, is said to be a top contender for an education department position, likely assistant secretary of elementary and secondary education.