--A Viewpoint from the BCDP Chair on Partisan School Boards
Hello Blount County Democrats,
I want to share some information with you about how Blount County School Board races became partisan, despite my belief that boards of education are not the place for political infighting at the expense of our community’s future.
The TN General Assembly voted in the October Special Session to make School Board seats partisan, and Governor Lee signed this into law last month. The state GOP claims that making these positions partisan will make them transparent, and the decision to make this happen on the local level falls to the local political parties who request primaries to be held.
I was contacted, along with the Chair of BCGOP, by the Blount County Election Commission about this change, and we were informed that we have the option to call for School Board races to be included in the primary cycle. To be clear, in my response to them, I said that I could see the positive and negative of making either choice. The positive outcome is likely to only benefit establishment politics that holds the local majority, and the negative outcome will inevitably be harmful to our local school systems.
I read the talking points and summaries provided by TNDP, discussed these items with TNDP and the BCDP Officers, and decided that the BCDP would only call for School Board primaries if the BCGOP chose to do so. As soon as I was informed of the BCGOP decision to make local education partisan, I filed the paperwork calling for School Board Democratic primaries.
This is not a game, and our values inform us that our students deserve a quality public education. Unfortunately, our students have become pawns in the political battlefield of lies and propaganda that have trickled all the way down to our most local offices. Was I pleased to file that form? Absolutely not. However, I will not sit by to leave our public school students to be impacted by any candidates who do not support education based in fact, reason, and common sense, nor do I expect any of you to do that.
We must now come together to find individuals who care for our neighbors and the well-being of our community to step up to the challenge of being both a Democrat and a School Board candidate. I invite you to search your soul and your mind to find the individuals to support our party in these races who also wish to serve the interests of ALL Tennesseans. Individuals can begin to pull petitions soon, and we have no time to lose.
If you need any additional clarification, don’t hesitate to contact me. Otherwise, we have a lot of work ahead of us, and BCDP could use your help in finding candidates.