Jan 6, 2007

Our children desperately need liberals, progressives and moderates

Calling all liberals, progressives and moderates who care about public education and their community to run for school board. The filing deadline for local, nonpartisan school board elections in May is the close of business Feb. 14.

While finding quality candidates is an issue for all of Michigan’s 549 public school districts, it’s an even more important issue for Livingston County’s five school districts, and for the county’s largest school district, Howell Public Schools, it’s absolutely critical.

Unfortunately for Livingston County residents, our Congressman, our state Senator, our two state Representatives, our entire Board of Commissioners and all the partisan offices except two township board members are Republicans. However, last spring the Republicans apparently were not happy that a few Democrats – especially after Joe Carney, the chair of Livingston County Democratic Party, was elected to the Brighton School Board on his own merits – managed over the years to get elected to nonpartisan school boards, city councils and village councils.

These are the few places where voters in areas dominated by Republicans are forced to actually look at the candidate’s merits, qualification and character instead of just pulling the handle for the person with the R after their name.

For the first time ever, the Republicans in Livingston County decided they didn’t like the nonpartisan label and made endorsements in the school board race. The only place it really was an issue with the often-uncontested races was Howell. The two candidates the party endorsed – ironically – were members of the party’s executive committee. The good news is only of the two were elected, but the bad news is the one who was elected was is an extreme wing nut who home-schools her children instead of enrolling them in the district she helps govern.

Another twist was added last year when an anti-gay hate group calling themselves, ironically, LOVE (Livingston Organization for Values in Education) sprang up in response to a diversity flag they mistakenly labeled a gay pride flag. This hate group fielded its own candidates, and one of them actually won in Howell. Current board member Wendy Day was the only candidate endorsed by both the county GOP and the hate group. Unfortunately, she has another three years on her term. The so-called “love” group plans on fielding more candidates and endorsing in future elections, so we need quality, open-minded moderates, regardless of party affiliation, to combat these people.

Nominating petitions and affidavits for anyone 18 or older wishing to run for a four-year term are available at their county clerk’s office, municipal clerk’s office or school board office. Again, for those of us having the misfortune of living in Republican dominated areas, this is a good way for you to serve your community, get people familiar with your name and get your feet wet in public office based on your merits and not on party affiliation.

For Livingston County residents, Pinckney Community Schools has three seats up for election, Brighton Area Schools has two seats, Howell Public Schools has two, Fowlerville Community Schools has two seats and Hartland Consolidated Schools has one seat.


Republican Michigander said...

Nothing's stopping you from running, Kevin....

Communications guru said...

Nor you. I might consider running someday because I have grandchildren in Howell schools, but I’m not ready yet. But thanks for asking.