Updated: Nov 1
One of the most heated political races that has everyone talking is the District 6 School Board race. The contestants are Ashley Kearney and Branndon Jackson.
While there are some similarities between the two candidates (like youthfulness, well-educated and professionalism), there are some definite differences (like educational background and chosen career paths). Branndon works as an economist and Ashley works as an educator. If you are a District 6 resident, you will be voting for one over the other, you're encouraged to do your research. Hopefully this article will be helpful to you in coming to a decision.
Several days ago, in a post on Facebook, the candidate to hold the District 6 School Board seat last, Belinda Queen, had some thoughts to share. "I try to stay out of School Board races because we normally have two democratic nominees running for a non-partisan position. I’m disappointed again to see that our elected leaders have not learned. I got a mailer this weekend and it chose one over the other in the mailer instead of letting Prince George's voters decide. Most School Board candidates do not have money to do mailers. I’m fairly sharing Ashley Kearney and Branndon Jackson's campaign literature. Do your own research. Your VOTE, Your CHOICE, Your own DECISION," posted former School Board Rep Belinda Queen.
Other officials and notable people are not taking such a quiet/hands off stance. "For some reason our elected officials continue to support certain candidates over other well experienced people and it does not make sense. Ashley is an educator and Branndon is an economist so it is clear a political deal was cut for Branndon Jackson because his education and career path speaks Fortune 500 not school board rep. For over 35 years, the norm in Prince George’s County political network has been to support the Senator’s decision. The biggest area for school board district 6 is the 24th District so the other Senators that have a portion just yield to poor politics by adding a non partisan candidate on their unofficial Democratic ballots. The Democratic Central Committee during the General Election have the official Democratic ballot in which you will not see a school board candidate on their marketing piece only candidates running as Democrats. I am strictly looking at who has the educational experience and who would make more sound teacher/student-oriented decisions and not just be another politician using the position as a stepping stone," said LaTasha Ward (who ran for the House of Delegates).
Tiffany Alston is one of the District 24 Delegate-Elects. She wants the best for the Prince George's County School Board. "The District 6 school board race is highly competitive with two good people running. I have decided to support Ashley Kearney because of the wide range of educational experience she possesses She has worked on federal legislation as a fellow and she has been awarded a Presidential award for teaching. District 6 will be fortunate to have someone with her skills representing us on the board."
Ashley Kearney is not the only candidate with strong support. Branndon Jackson was picked up by Senator Joanne C. Benson's slate and she proudly endorses him. Furthermore, County Executive Angela Alsobrooks sent out an email stating, "For Board of Education District 6, I'm supporting Branndon Jackson, who personally understands the struggles that many of our students face through his own background and has a strong grasp of budgets through his background as an economist."
In addition to being endorsed by, among others, the Prince George's County Education Association (PGCEA), Branndon has several well-known, well-respected supporters. One of those supporters is the District 7 Democratic nominee, Krystal Oriadha. Krystal is proud to stand with Branndon. "I am supporting Branndon because he has the qualifications and the competencies to do the job and do it well. He will put compassion over politics and keep his focus centered on our children. I know him. I trust him. I trust his judgement. Furthermore, he has been in the trenches with me doing the work," she told TMC.
Speaking of doing the work, TMC was able to reach Branndon and ask him what he feels his strengths are. "First I want to debunk the myth that I am strictly a corporate guy. Yes, I have been able to navigate the corporate world. I have worked hard and see my background as an economist as an asset; however, I don't want people to misunderstand, I am also very community-oriented and have been heavily involved as a grassroots activist for a while. I am not someone who was just anointed by 'the powers that be'. I have worked hard to show up and be present doing work within the community, within the Prince George's County school system, and beyond. I am proud of my work, for example, as a coach, as a member of NAACP, and other civic organizations. I spent most of my life here. I raised a family here. I have a kid here that will go to Prince George's County public schools. I am invested through and through."
TMC was also able to get in touch with Ashley. We asked her what she believes has prepared her for the role as D6 School Board representative. "As an educator, I have made a lifetime commitment to serve students and families. After experiencing the system at all levels, from the classroom to Congress, I'm clear that we have to connect policy to practice. My educational background includes a Master's in Education and continued studies in education finance, education policy, and education program evaluation. Furthermore, my work experience and community efforts reflect my dedication to ensuring that we support educators and students and that we hold ourselves to the highest of standards. I'm more than qualified and I am prepared to get to work on day one and ready to go beyond the call of duty. Our students deserve for us to deliver on our promises," Ashley told TMC.
(Branndon and Ashley talk to voters during early voting on Monday, October 31, 2022, Sports and Learning Complex)
Branndon's website is www.votebjackson.com
Ashley's website is www.ashleykearneyforschoolboard.com
VOTING DAY IS NOVEMBER 8, 2022
You can click the link below to determine if you're in School Board District 6 or not: