How Elections Should Be

I was really hoping all the candidates would be there that night so I could finally meet them and make new friends and shake their hands. If I lost (the most likely scenario, in my mind) I’d graciously congratulate the winners and wish them luck in the general election, and then go home and begin my retirement. If I made it to the general election myself I’d … well, I didn’t actually have that scenario figured out in my mind. I mean – what were the odds, right?

There were four of us running for this position, but the only other candidate to arrive at the courthouse that night was Rich, the incumbent. I was so glad to see him! We shook hands and chatted for a bit – talked about where we’d learned we shouldn’t put signs (do not put signs along state highways, or in parks – they will be confiscated), and our campaigns – this was the first time Rich had actually had to run against other people, so it was all kind of new to him, too. Bill was there, too – Bill is an incumbent, running for another school board position (he was the only candidate for his position to show up). There were also some candidates there for a local mayor’s race, and positions on the hospital board, and their supporters and families were there to celebrate with them if they won, and bolster them up if things went the other direction. It was a wonderfully convivial atmosphere. That was the thing that struck me most about it – everyone was so friendly and cheery – even the folks who were running against each other. And it struck me that this is how elections SHOULD be.

The position I was running for – school board director – is a non-partisan position, and the people on the school board have to work as a team to make decisions – no one person holds all the power and can make decisions by himself/herself. I think this is great. I got in a lovely conversation with a commissioner for the local port authority and we talked about that for a while- his position is non-partisan, also. He said he never endorses other people, and he never asks for endorsements, either, because he doesn’t want to be beholden to anyone or any party. His words really resonated with me. Right now our nation is so polarized between right and left, conservatives and liberals, that it was really refreshing to be able to talk to someone in a way that wasn’t divided between this thing and that thing.

When the votes were counted, Rich handily mowed all the rest of us down in the primary, but I managed to come in second and will be going on to the general election with him.

I had fun that night. I met some really wonderful people whose whole motivation for running seems to be to serve others. School board members and port commissioners don’t get paid for their work – it’s all voluntary – and I really enjoyed hobnobbing with other folks who have that service mentality.

Here are a couple pictures from that night…
(Photos by Scott Terrell.)

 

 

Running for School Board

So what happened was… one day during lunch I walked down to the courthouse in the drizzle, squeeked my way across the lobby (my shoes decided to show off to the long line of people waiting to get their vehicles registered), and announced to the ladies behind the election counter that I was going to run for office. They smiled and pointed to the next office over, and there I was greeted by the mother of one of my former students who asked me (and how did she know?!) if I was going to run for school board. She set me up in front of a little computer, I typed in my name and pushed a couple buttons, and – just like that! – I was a candidate!

Here’s my statement for the voter’s pamphlet:
I’ve been a teacher in Skagit County‚Äôs schools since my husband and I moved here 34 years ago. I taught in the Burlington-Edison School District from 1992-2012. For the last seven years I’ve taught at Emerson, a nonprofit alternative high school in Mount Vernon. Recently, I wrote a health supplement on teen drug abuse for an educational publishing company. Working for the publishing company gave me an opportunity to recognize the challenges students and teachers face today in education.

As an educator my mission has been to help my students build a solid foundation of knowledge and skills they can bring with them into the future; and to help them see the power they have to make the world a better place. I retired from teaching in spring of 2019. I’d like to bring my teaching experience with me to the Burlington-Edison school board.

Our sons are Burlington-Edison graduates. I appreciate the dedication of the teachers who gave them the skills they need to achieve their goals in life. I’d like the opportunity to give back to the teachers of Burlington-Edison now, and to support our young people, by serving on the school board.