Part Two: A Williamson school board endorsement guide


Part Two: A Williamson school board endorsement guide

As promised, here’s part two of our endorsement guide.

During the past few weeks, several groups – both PACs and partisan – have suggested and endorsed candidates for the Williamson County School Board.

Here’s the breakdown per district of what groups supported which candidates. There have been four groups making the endorsements: the Williamson Business Political Action Committee, WillCo Rising, the Williamson County Republican Party and the Williamson County Homeschool Coalition. One Williamson individual, Lee Douglas, also made a list of suggestions. He posted those on the 9.12 Project Nashville page.

The 9.12 Project was accused of being a political action committee last summer by a Brentwood man.

The Williamson County Homeschool Coalition is a closed Facebook group, run by Julie West, who is a textbook activist. Last summer, the group was accused of being a political action committee.

The Tennessee Bureau of Registry and Finance has still taken no action on either claim.

The Williamson County Democratic Party has said it will not endorse anyone for school board.

One of the two races with three candidates, District Seven mimics the same pattern of endorsement in the District Three race.

The WillCo Rising PAC endorsed incumbent Bobby Hullett. The PAC strictly focused on supporting political candidates in Williamson County.

“Bobby Hullett has demonstrated a strong commitment to his constituents and to WCS at large,” the group wrote. “His attendance at and involvement in board meetings and other WCS-related events is without equal. If that’s not enough to make the case, the usual suspects have also targeted him as Public Enemy Number One for his ongoing fight against the Curlee Crew, which should tell you all you need to know about what he stands for.”

He also got a nod from the Williamson Business PAC, which his opponent Jennifer Luteran has criticized him for taking. On her candidate Facebook page, Luteran took the mailer the business group sent and drew a large red mark across Hullett’s face. She said she took issue with the PAC, though she interviewed for its endorsement. She said had they chosen her, she wouldn’t have accepted their money, accusing it of being “dark money.”

The Williamson Business PAC previously cut all ties with Williamson, Inc. earlier this spring after some commissioners questioned its relationship to the PAC because of the $300,000 it receives from county. According to its disclosures, no taxpayer money has been used to fund the Williamson Business PAC.

“After meeting with them, I never had any intention of taking their money,” Luteran said. “They felt like Mr. Hullett had the temperament they were looking for, even though he’s told parents to pack up and move, yelled at board members, etc.”

Luteran’s endorsements came from the Williamson County Homeschool Coalition and Douglas, who said he would cast his vote for her.

Christopher Richards took no endorsements.

The Williamson County Republican Party didn’t endorse anyone in this race.

Not mixed on endorsements, incumbent Rick Wimberly and Denise Boothby gained four of the five groups handing out support.

Wimberly received the WillCo Rising PAC support for his decision-making skills and demeanor in having the District Nine seat.

“Mr. Wimberly is one of the quieter members of the WCS board, preferring (it seems) to keep his own counsel with regard to important matters until such time as needed,” the group wrote. “This sometimes makes people worry about where he stands, especially relative to other more vocal board members. But not to worry: once it’s time to make a decision, he does, and it is almost always the correct one. He has been and will continue to be an asset to the board.”

He also received the nudge from the Williamson Business PAC.

Boothby received endorsements from the Williamson County Homeschool Coalition. She had previously homeschooled one of her children for a time. She also received a nod from Douglas.

Between the two of them, KC Haugh and Stuart Cooper nabbed the support from all five across the board.

Haugh received his endorsements from both the WillCo Rising and Williamson Business PAC.

“Our first red flag regarding Mr. Haugh’s opponent was raised when he told the media he had no opinions about educational issues despite having pulled a petition to run for the school board,” the WillCo Rising PAC wrote. “And it’s only gotten worse from there. Mr. Haugh, by contrast, has been extremely active with regard to local educational issues over the last two years and was one of the most prominent leaders of the battle to keep Dr. Looney here. He will be ready to represent his district from day one.”

Haugh said he was honored to have the support of parents, residents and the business community, along with some elected officials.

“We’ve all been frustrated by the dysfunction of the current school board. I want to return the focus to education,” he said. “In contrast, my opponent has received support from the same political activists who created the divisiveness of the last two years. I look forward to serving on a school board united in the goal of putting students first, supporting teachers, and not wasting taxpayer dollars on political agendas.”

Cooper was one of four candidates to receive the endorsement on behalf of the Williamson County Republican Party. He said he didn’t mind having the support from the party, as he was a Republican.

“With three out of four voters in Williamson County identifying as Republican, this endorsement signals to conservatives in our county that I am the candidate that best reflects their values,” he said. “I believe voters deserve to know the values and principles of their candidates. Those who claim to have no political intentions in running for a public office merely want to hide their own. I am unashamed of my conservative track record, and I am proud to accept this endorsement.”

He also received the endorsement from Douglas along with the support from the Williamson County Homeschool Coalition.

Emily West covers Franklin and Williamson County government and schools for Home Page Media Group. Contact her at emily@franklinhomepage.com. Follow her on Twitter via @emwest22.

About The Author

Kelly Gilfillan is the owner-publisher of Home Page Media Group which has been publishing hyperlocal news since 2009.

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