Each time an election season begins it’s always an interesting time for reporters as we make contact with candidates who are seeking to knock off an incumbent. This is usually the time when we get to hear about how horrible a job the incumbent has done and what a political newcomer can do better.
The upcoming Piedmont School Board elections on Feb. 8 feature three challengers taking on two incumbents. But while we kickoff the start of yet another campaign season, early signs point to the fact that this election might lack the type of anger, outrage and political venom that has come to define politics on every level.
This week’s Piedmont-Surrey Gazette features a news story (page 3A) on the five candidates, specifically the three challengers, vying for two school board seats and in my initial discussions with Dr. Tamra States, Jimmy Spivey and Aaron Chester I found a refreshing theme. So far, all three challengers say they are simply looking to serve their community.
“I’m not upset with anybody,” Spivey told me over the phone, “I just think I have a lot to offer.” That statement was echoed by each one of the three challengers, two of which are seeking an elected position for the first time. As the campaign season heats up we may begin to see some more defined differences between the candidates, but for now, there are signs that we may be in for a civil campaign which will mean a much needed breath of fresh air for voters who have grown accustomed to political mud slinging from school council elections all the way up to the White House.
2010 has been the year when “common folk” have taken on the task of running for office in an effort to improve their communities and country. The Tea Party has been the most noticeable place where everyday Americans have said, “enough is enough.” But the campaigns of the Tea Party were often motivated by anger, and while some of that anger was, at times, justified, it’s nice to see three candidates for school board simply say they are looking for an opportunity to serve.
Let’s face it, we have it pretty good in the Piedmont school district. We have an affluent district with our biggest obstacle being how to handle the fact that hundreds of families each year are looking to move into the district. Each school board challenger expressed their love for the district, each moving here because of the schools, and said they wanted to continue the district’s progress.
Communities build their foundation on the support of residents and the drive by people to get involved in roles of service. It’s great to see three residents who want to get involved, along with the two current members who have embodied that spirit.
Feb. 8 will be an important day for a district faced with many hurdles but we should appreciate the fact that our strong district continues to benefit from dedicated parents who want to get involved. A civil and professional campaign season will only serve as another feather in the district’s cap.
Now, if only we could get that same sense of civility in the upcoming mayoral election.