Several conservative candidates running for the school board in a Denver suburb declared victories Tuesday night in contests that generated news headlines around the country.
Christy Williams, one of four “Kids First” Douglas County, Colo., candidates revealed the results to rowdy applause at a party in Parker, Colo., to thank supporters just a few minutes after polls closed, Fox News reported.
“I am humbled to my core,” she told the network. “I think there’s a lot to look at, but ultimately I hope to give parents the ultimate authority over their children.”
Williams, along with the other three candidates — Mike Peterson, Becky Myers and Kaylee Winegar — were holding leads over two incumbents, Krista Holtzmann and Kevin Leung, and a pair of first-time candidates, Ruby Martinez and Juli Watkins, all of whom were supported by CommUNITY Matters, an organization backed by teachers’ unions.
“Peterson and Myers led by double-digit percentage points as of late Tuesday night, local time. Williams led Leung by more than 7,000 votes and Winegar led Holtzmann by more than 8,000 votes,” Fox News reported.
“I’ll tell you what, free speech is back,” Peterson told Fox News. “No more cutting people off at two minutes, no more telling people that waving an American flag in support of a speaker is intimidation.
“And we’re going to do the First Amendment in the boardroom, that’s for sure,” he added.
Winegar, who is an accountant that never believed she would ever run for office, said voters “wanted some leaders who were less hands-on and more about letting the parents have a say in what’s going on in the schools.”
“I can’t even believe this happened,” added Myers, who is a retired Douglas County teacher.
“We’ve got to get the trust of our parents,” she told the network. “These parents, these supporters that voted us in, we need to know, what do they want first? What do they want us to get in there and tackle first?
“And I’m thinking, at this point, they want our kids in school, they want them educated and they want mandates gone and they want teachers in there,” Myers added. “They want teachers paid. And I just think they want to get Douglas County back to its excellence.”
A local NBC affiliate, 9News, called all the races for the conservative candidates at around 10 p.m. MST. If the results hold up, then more than half the current seven-member school board will be replaced.
“This is my first time actually really thinking about, that I may have voted for a school board election,” Leslie Leslie Jacot-Guillarmod told 9News outside a polling location in Highlands Ranch. “I’ve always done like presidential and primaries and things like that.”
Voters told the local outlet and Fox News that they were motivated to support the conservative candidates as pushback against leftist school curriculum including critical race theory and so-called “equity” focused learning.
“Equity is a squishy word, and that’s part of the problem,” Peterson told the network. “If you sit 10 people down that are stakeholders in the county, give them a piece of paper and ask them to find equity, you’re going to come up with 15 different answers.
“So what we intend to do is keep the calm and keep the good inclusion, belonging, kindness, respect,” he continued. “But anything that creeps over into critical race theory, division, intersectionality, some voices being more valid based on the speaker and not on the merit or the virtue of the argument, we’re going to separate the wheat from the chaff, keep the good and we’re going to get rid of the bad.”
“I think we’re raising some young people that have no respect and no love for our country, as we once did,” Pat Edwards, a Douglas County resident who has a grandchild in the local school, told 9News. “So I want to bring back the founding principles of honesty and morality and goodness and fairness.”
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