As the dust settles on an unbelievable election season, I wanted to share my thoughts on the unfortunate level of divisive politics that fueled this election, particularly in our campaign for the Board of Education.
In the world of politics, no matter the branch or level of government, it is easy to turn negative and to lose faith and confidence in your abilities and experience, but I think Secretary Hillary Clinton said it best in her concession speech when she said that, win or lose, our nation’s new generation of leaders must “never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it”.
Never in my wildest imagination did I expect the level of dishonest comments, blatant discrimination, and unruly disrespect that I received from what many voters called “a Bully with a Bullhorn". While I certainly had ample opportunity and information to go negative in return, I knew that God had my back; that he put me in this fight because he knew I could weather the storm.
For nine long days, my opponent and his supporters repeatedly said that:
I “do not care about kids”, despite the work I have done in advocating for young people of color, poverty, and disability on the federal, state, and local levels;
my leadership was “untrustworthy”, despite earning the faith, confidence, and trust of several civic, municipal, county, and state leaders;
that the support I earned from the teacher’s union was not real because “half of the teachers don’t even like their union”;
that I was simply “given the job of being a Board member”, even though I went through a lengthy and thorough application, interview, vetting, and Council confirmation process that took nearly six months;
that I “stole money and closed Skyline Elementary and Forestville High Schools”, contrary to the fact that I have governed ethically and publicly opposed the closure of these two schools;
that I “was the reason we lost the federal Head Start grant”, even though I was selected by my Board colleagues to negotiate a path forward with the federal government, preventing unqualified individuals teaching our 3 and 4 year olds and the consolidation of sites; and,
I was “the Donald Trump of District 7”, an “establishment puppet”, and I was simply doing this “for my own political gain”, even though I quit my full time job to take on the full responsibilities of being a Board member because District 7 had been without one for more than half a year.
Friends, I have never claimed to be the perfect candidate or leader, and I never will claim to be so. I have never claimed to have all the answers and that the opinions of those who disagree with me are outright wrong. However, I refuse to accept the proclamations of incorrectness and the method of governance by fears over facts.
Although this election was bittersweet for many reasons, I am comforted by the love and support that my family, friends, and supporters have given me. This campaign was not, and never will be, about me, the candidate, but instead about the mission and platform it is rooted in.
Through the good, bad, and ugly, together, we will fight for A Better Tomorrow, Today.
With grace and respect for all deserving of it,
K. Alexander Wallace