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Sen. Patty Murray to Remain Top Democrat on Senate Education Committee

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Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., announced Wednesday that she will continue to serve as the top Democrat on the Senate education committee in the upcoming 115th session of Congress. 

Murray took over as the committee's number one Democrat in 2015, after control of the Senate flipped to Republicans. She worked closely with Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., the committee's chairman, to craft the Every Student Succeeds Act, the first reauthorization of the main federal K-12 law in roughly 15 years. Murray is a major backer of preschool programs—she is a former preschool teacher herself—and favors robust federal oversight for schools and Washington spending.

Her announcement also ends speculation that Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who also sits on the education committee, would assume a bigger role there in 2017. Previously, Sanders indicated that he desired to lead the committee were Democrats to retake control of the Senate.

In a statement, Murray said she and other committee members had taken "some important steps forward" to help students and families. 

"But I am also ready to fight back as hard as I can, every step of the way, if Republicans choose to embrace the darker elements of President-elect [Donald] Trump's campaign and focus on dividing our country, taking away access to care for women and families, undermining communities' rights and protections, hurting students and workers, or dragging us backwards," Murray said in her statement.

Separately on Wednesday, Senate Democrats also picked Murray to be the third-ranking senator in Democratic leadership. 

Photo: Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., center, at the Democratic National Convention in July. (Deanna Del Ciello/Education Week)

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