Trump pick for intelligence director is Jackson native


JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) — When president-elect Donald Trump takes office later this month, it’s possible he will have two Michigan natives in his cabinet.

His nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, is from Grand Rapids and has gotten lots of attention.

And another nominee grew up right here in mid-Michigan.

Senator Dan Coats has been nominated for the cabinet post of Director of National Intelligence.

Coats grew up in Jackson, and graduated from Jackson High School in 1961.

Back then, he was a member of the Latin club, involved in student government, and was president of the band.

Fast forward to 2017, Coats is now on track to assume a much different office, as a member of President Trump’s cabinet.

“I was very pleased to know that he was recognized in the highest levels of our government,” said former classmate Marston Fortress.

Fortress graduated with Coats from Jackson High, and remembers him well.

“He was very well-liked by people. He interacted with people of all levels, and he was a good student,” Fortress said.

Coats went on to become a U.S. Senator from Indiana.

This past weekend, Trump named him as his pick for Director of National Intelligence.

If he’s approved for the position, he’ll oversee intelligence operations and brief the president.

Coats was born and raised in Jackson, where he attended the public schools.

The district superintendent says his success teaches today’s students to aim high.

“I know several classmates of mine who have gone on to do some tremendous things. So this is just another perfect example of folks right here in Jackson aspiring to be something greater. So it’s a tremendous service to our country,” said Superintendent Jeff Beal of Jackson Public Schools.

The nomination of Coats comes at a time when there’s growing tension with Russia.

The former senator been an outspoken critic of Russia, and is even banned from visiting the country.

His old classmate is confident Coats will help our country in this tense time.

“There’s been a lot of questions about our intelligence over the past few months. I am hoping he can bring back some stability to that, some credibility to that, and I think he has the personal traits and the character to do that,” Fortress said.

6 News reached out to Coats on social media but has yet to get a response.

His position comes with a senate confirmation hearing.

It’s not known when that will take place.

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