Overcoming partisan gridlock, the U.S. Senate has voted to confirm John King Jr. as U.S. Education Secretary.
The Washington Post reports that seven Republicans joined Democrats in voting 49 to 40 in favor of King’s confirmation at a time when key GOP senators are refusing to even consider an Obama nominee to the Supreme Court.
Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee — chairman of the Senate education committee and education secretary 25 years ago under President George H.W. Bush — urged his colleagues to confirm King, who previously served as commissioner of education for the state of New York.
After being confirmed, King posted his reaction on Twitter: "Education saved my life. Feeling incredibly humbled by the honor to serve as Secretary."
King, 41, has been serving as acting secretary since Arne Duncan stepped down at the end of 2015.
Before becoming acting secretary, King had served as Principal Senior Advisor at the education department. King carried out the duties of the deputy secretary, overseeing all preK-12 education policies, programs and strategic initiatives.
From 2011 to 2014, King was commissioner of education in New York and oversaw the state's elementary and secondary schools, public, independent and proprietary colleges and universities, libraries, museums, and numerous other educational institutions.