It is no exaggeration to say that partisan politics at the national level does not really reflect the local issues that people care about in places like Volusia County.
And that makes sense: Volusia County is just the tiniest fraction of what people like the president and the Democratic and Republican party bosses are supposed to care about. So why are the hyperpartisan talking points of the national stage so ubiquitous in Volusia County?
Nowhere is this seen more than in Volusia County School Board races. The School Board is where nonpartisan elected officials make tough decisions about how public schools are run throughout the county.
In this election cycle, there has been a concerted effort by far-right candidates to take over the School Board.
In August, Volusia County Council Member Fred Lowry lost a bid to unseat incumbent School Board member Ruben Colon in the District 5 race. Lowry was outspoken about his conspiratorial far-right politics, but voters chose the working respiratory therapist over the denier of the COVID-19 and 2020 election results.
In the race for District 1, which includes the DeLand area, far-right candidate Jaclyn Carrell, who claimed she was in “spiritual warfare” to defeat her political opponents, was eliminated in the primary by incumbent Jamie Haynes. , who now faces longtime educator Al Bouie in the District 1 runoff.
Haynes is running for re-election and has been endorsed by the local chapter Moms for Liberty, a far-right organization responsible for nationwide initiatives to ban library books that they fear will indoctrinate children, and not in the way that they like.
Voters have already shown in two School Board elections that extremist candidates do not represent them.
Running for the seat on School Board District 3, which represents mostly the eastern side of the county, and a small part of southwestern Volusia, is Jessie Thompson, a candidate who has been clear about her stance on hot-button political issues since she was introduced for the first time. she run for office.
She wants what she calls Christian ideology in the classroom, and some of the biggest issues kids face, she told a crowd at a Volusia County GOP event, are: “Sexualization at an early age, CRT [critical race theory] and being divided”, and “not having been taught to read or do mathematics”.
Thompson is a political outcast, but she has made connections quickly. Thousands of dollars for her campaign came from Tallahassee political action committees connected to Republican politicians, and Gov. Ron DeSantis endorsed her since Lowry was in the primary.
Local political bodies work best when they reflect their communities. Our communities are made up of people of all ideologies, races, socioeconomic backgrounds, sexual orientations, and gender identities, so it makes sense that our County Council, our School Board, and our city commissions are nonpartisan.
Before you fill out your ballot for the election on Tuesday, November 8, ask yourself these questions:
What do we want for the future of our communities? Do we want it to be dictated by the supporters of the agenda or do we want candidates who are willing to work together with the rest of the community and can really put aside their political or religious beliefs to do what is best for all the people they represent? ?