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The Senate confirmed Robert King Thursday as the assistant secretary for postsecondary education nearly eight months after his nomination was approved through a committee vote.

King, who hadn't worked at the federal level before his nomination by President Trump last year, was previously the president of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education. He had also served as president and CEO of the Arizona Community Foundation and chancellor of the State University of New York system.

The slow movement on King's nomination illustrates the challenges the Trump administration has had getting political appointees approved for various agencies. Most Democrats in the Senate opposed King's nomination, which cleared the chamber by a 56-to-37 margin. Three Democrats -- Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Doug Jones of Alabama and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona -- joined Republicans in voting to confirm King.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said in a statement that King's "knowledge and expertise will be a tremendous asset as we continue to rethink higher education in order to better serve all students and prepare them for successful lives and careers."