GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.
Election night is over, but a milestone has been set changing a once non-partisan school board election race into a new political battleground. Cindy Ficklin was at the Mesa County Republican’s watch party at Warehouse 25sixty-five Kitchen & Bar cheering on the candidates she voted for to serve as new School District 51 school board members. Cindy says, “This has been one of the most important elections in our entire country in all of the years we’ve been the United States of America, and the reason I believe that is because we right now are fighting for freedom and liberty.”
Some say it shouldn’t be a political issue resonating with voters, it should be about principle. Eric Ward was at the Mesa County Democrat’s watch party at Charlie Dwellington’s also cheering on school board member candidates. Eric says, “It’s not about the political side. It’s about what can you do for the school board, what can you do for the kids, how can you make it better? So, kids can want to learn, wanna be a part of it, and get something out of it.”
Board meetings have become a battle where parents fight for their kids freedom of choice to wear a mask or get a vaccine, and some votes go to candidates pitching promises on giving those parents a voice in our schools, while others are voting for enhancing education. “I’ve never seen it where parents and community are not invited to part of the conversation until now,” said Ficklin. Ward says, “I’d like to see a meeting where it’s not going to be like that because that’s embarrassing to everyone involved.”
School board races were non-partisan. Well, they’re non-partisan no longer. As voters weigh in casting their vote based on mask mandates, COVID vaccines, and the backgrounds of the candidates themselves, and as the election draws to a close, there’s still one question to be answered: do voters still have confidence in the elections process? Ficklin says, “We will have one of the most fair and accurate elections in the country.” “I still have confidence in the election process. You just want to have people who are going to leave the politics at home,” said Ward.