I want to say thank you to all those who supported me and provided encouragement. Their thoughtfulness has truly overwhelmed me. I feel good that we ran a clean campaign and focused on the issues that really matter to the Hamilton School District.
I appreciate the opportunity to state my side of the story and to clear the air in this matter now that the election is past. I was unwilling to engage in a war of words during the lead-up to the election - preferring to let my work speak for me. Unfortunately, the efforts of the opposition to smear my name were successful, that is something I regret.
The things that are being printed and said about me over the airwaves as "facts" are not true. I did sign the petition. I NEVER falsified or fraudulently signed my name on anything, at any time. The copies of the petition show a missed last letter - never intentional on my part. The reversal of the "r" and "i" are clearly a data entry error when it was input to the database.
The bottom line is that I made a mistake when ambushed by a bully.
My signature is valid and authentic, as is my address. I deeply resent the untruths being perpetuated as fact. They simply are wrong. Contrary to some statements - I've done nothing illegal.
The bottom line is that I made a mistake when ambushed by a bully. I think most people have experienced something like that in their life - being caught completely off-guard - but I'm guessing most haven't had to deal with their reaction being taped surreptitiously.
In the days before our conversation, Jeremy Halcomb left several messages at my home, asking to discuss issues of the school district, and that was what I was prepared to discuss with him. At no time did he indicate, in the messages he left, a question about my political philosophies. In my surprise, I responded poorly to his repeated questions about the recall petition during our initial conversation, out of fear and in an attempt to protect myself and my family.
Upon reflection, my integrity led me to call him back to right my wrong the next day. Aside from my initial misstatement, I did nothing wrong. Isn't that what we teach our kids?
Everyone makes mistakes, and when you do, own it and make it right. I did that. While I'm not proud of the choice I made in that moment, I'm not ashamed of wanting to protect myself and my family and I am proud that I took corrective action. And clearly, my fears were well grounded - as the revelation of my personal political beliefs resulted in my complete character assassination in the media and has wreaked tremendous havoc on my family, in particular my children.
Everyone makes mistakes, and when you do, own it and make it right. I did that.
In my opinion, there is no room for partisan politics on a School Board. Take any issue that our district has faced since I've been on the Board.... at first blush, we may have seven different viewpoints of the issue. But through open dialogue, respectful sharing of ideas and truly listening to each other, we reach a consensus that we can support.
That is how things get done - by showing respect for everyone's ideas and listening - really hearing - what everyone has to say. Just because you may disagree with someone on an issue doesn't mean that they're totally wrong or you're totally right. It's via open discussion, with trust, that you can actually gain new perspectives and get things accomplished. That is what we have been able to do during my years on the Board.
The district is at the top of its game. I am proud that I have been a part of that success. I would love to understand what needed "fixing" that inspired my detractors to plot to unseat me.
Few have questioned why someone who has never been involved or even supportive of the efforts in our schools or district suddenly pops up, endorsed by an entity with an exclusive focus on reducing taxes and supported by two men, Jeremy Halcomb and Steve Welcenbach, both of whom have chosen to send their own children to private schools outside the district. Personally, I question their motives. One has to wonder what the goals of such individuals are in a district that clearly is succeeding for all stakeholders.
I would love to understand what needed "fixing" that inspired my detractors to plot to unseat me.
I am hopeful that this district will remain strong. We have an outstanding superintendent and administration, teachers and staff that are the best around and students hungry to learn and achieve. The Board works to be proactive and plan for the future. I wish the district good luck. I hope Mr. Schneider will be able to check his partisan politics at the door when he takes his oath of office.
There is no room for a personal political agenda in representing ALL of the participants in this district. I believe it is his charge to stand not only for the taxpayers, but just as strongly for students, parents, staff and the community at large. Balancing these elements is the key to a healthy, strong school system and has been the backbone of our success. I took that charge to heart and will always be proud of what we accomplished while I served this community for the past six years, both in terms of fiscal responsibility and student achievement.