Cardona, Walsh move on to full Senate vote

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Washington), chair of the Senate education and labor committee, opens voting Thursday on President Joe Biden's nominees for secretaries of education and labor. (Image: Screenshot from streamed event)

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee on Thursday approved President Joe Biden’s nominees for secretaries of education and labor.

The committee approved Miguel Cardona for U.S. education secretary by a 17-5 vote, and Marty Walsh for U.S. labor secretary in an 18-4 vote. Both were expected to easily pass the committee after their confirmation hearings last week.

The full Senate is now expected to vote on both nominees very soon.

At Thursday’s committee vote on the nominees, ranking member Sen. Richard Burr (R-North Carolina) encouraged Republicans to vote for both Cardona and Walsh, who he said are qualified and indicated their willingness to cooperate and collaborate with Congress.

“Dr. Cardona has a background, qualifications, temperament to serve as secretary of education,” Burr said. “Mayor Walsh has the background, the skills and awareness of the need for balance in conversations between labor and management.”

“We won’t agree on everything, but we should be able to find places where we can agree,” Burr said of both candidates.

Cardona, 45, has served in Connecticut as an elementary school teacher, principal and assistant superintendent. In 2019, he was appointed state education commission. During his confirmation hearing before the Senate HELP Committee last week, Cardona touched on community colleges, career and technical education (CTE) and dual enrollment. He said he would like to see students explore CTE at a younger age to better inform them about potential occupations and postsecondary education choices.

Walsh, 53, is mayor of Boston, a position he has held since 2014. He previously headed the Building and Construction Trades Council and served as a state representative. At his confirmation hearing last week, Walsh discussed community colleges, job training, free college tuition and helping those most affected by the pandemic. He also called for better coordination between the departments of education and labor on programs related to CTE and job training.

About the Author

Matthew Dembicki
Matthew Dembicki edits Community College Daily and serves as associate vice president of communications for the American Association of Community Colleges.