I have volunteered and worked on campaigns since 2007. I have seen my fair share of dirty tricks and smear campaigns. It is often seen as a necessary evil when you want your candidate to win. But where do you draw the line? Is all fair in love and war? In my opinion, the answer is no.
A line must be drawn when statements you are making are not factual. This is the case with a mailer that was just sent to Jefferson County voters. This mailer makes the statement that Thomas Wicke, Amara Hildebrand, and Joel Newton cannot be trusted and would support an incomplete history of our country being taught in schools and extreme activists taking over school boards. These are very powerful statements, and in the case of Joel Newton, they are 100% false.
A little context: School board races are supposed to be non-partisan. It is, however, very easy to find out which party a candidate belongs to. In the case of the school board, you have 3 Democrats: Michele Applegate, Erin Kenworthy, and Joel Newton. Thomas Wicke and Amara Hildebrand are considered to be the more conservative candidates. Michele Applegate and Erin Kenworthy are the candidates endorsed by the teacher’s union, which explains why Students Deserve Better, an IEC (Independent Expenditure Committee) has paid for this mailer.
Why did Students Deserve Better lump Joel Newton together with the conservative candidates? I don’t have an answer for you other than to say the author chose to be lazy and deceitful. The easy route in political messing these days is to say Democrats are “good” and conservatives are “bad.” This is what I believe this mailer was trying to get across. This messaging is shortchanging the voters, especially in the case of Joel Newton, because the Students Deserve Better decided to lump Joel together with the conservative candidates. The broad statements made against the three non-union endorsed candidates are bold-faced lies when applied to Joel.
This mailer is unfortunate, disappointing, and disheartening to say the very least. We must demand honesty and integrity in our elections. I will end this letter by asking Erin Kenworthy and Michelle Applegate to denounce the Students Deserve Better mailer and explicitly state they do not condone their deceitful tactics.
Sandie Weathers, Lakewood
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