WEEK 8: Local Politics

Toby C -

Hi everyone!

What a week! I started off by facilitating yet another roundtable at the Emmanuel Lutheran Church, who is participating in The Launch Pad’s Better Together program. One of the things that we’ve noticed throughout this civil discourse campaign is the homogeneity of the groups that tend to participate – whether in families, friend groups, or churches, since they all come from the same background, they tend to agree with each other. Though that has its uses, it’s important to be wary that when we’re just nodding to everything the people around us are saying, we may be putting ourselves in an echo chamber, which fuels political partisanship.

Emmanuel Lutheran Church roundtable.

We touched on this topic when I spoke to Stan G, sitting president of the PUSD school board and an active participant in the efforts to recall Prescott mayor Phil Goode, which recently ended. Echoing the sentiments of my conversation with Jenn N. last week, he said that especially on social media, he has noticed a trend towards extremism in non–partisan education. He said that one of the causes of this is fear. Issues and buzz-words like Common Core, CRT, and “woke-ism” often become campaign platforms and talking points for candidates, which factor into a standardized playbook for running for school boards.

What this led to, in Stan’s experience, is that organizations began running inexperienced candidates who had very little understanding of educational issues en masse, who all propelled the same national narrative forward, instead of actually listening to the needs of the schools and the students. Stan shared that after he retired from the Army, he worked for the County Superintendent for 8 years, which allowed him to bypass the steep learning curve that comes with being a first-time office holder. I picked Stan’s brain for the process that went into building his campaign for school board, and the thing that stood out most to me was his platform. Campaigns are often built on promises of change, but he said that his campaign was more so focused on the message that things are working and headed in the right direction, and that he feels we need to continue moving there. We ended our conversation with a tour of the Milgard glass and windows factory; it was fascinating to see the production line and the melting pot of workers that come together to efficiently get something done.

Stan G at Milgard.

Unlike the contentious Board of Supervisors meeting I attended a few weeks ago, the Prescott City Council Meeting and Clarkdale Town Council Meeting that I presented at this week were much more tame. I had some lovely chats with the councilmembers about substance abuse prevention in schools, once again proving that we are able to stand together as a community on issues that we care about.

Prescott City Council meeting.
Stand With Me, Be Drug Free Proclamation
Clarkdale City Council Meeting.

On a separate note, the Governor’s Youth Commission is hosting the last webinar of our three-part education series on April 21 at 3 PM. A four-year university immediately after high school isn’t for everyone, and we’ll be joined by a panel of experts from the Arizona Department of Education and trade school students to discuss technical education, and what sort of opportunities it opens up. I’d highly encourage all Arizona high schoolers to attend to understand their options after graduation.

GYC Edu WG Webinar Signup!

Even though I’ll be gone for the majority of this coming week for a college visit, This coming week, I’ll be speaking with the Vice Mayor of Prescott Valley, Lori H, who has been focused on her reelection efforts. I’ll also be shadowing Bob T of the Prescott Valley Police Department to delve further into local government. Looking forward to it; see you then!

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