As we enter the in-person early voting phase of the campaign, I want to take a second to declare the obvious: we’re winning.
Every indicator I see suggests it. But it really boils down to this: our movement has thousands of people excited to vote for me — and what we’re trying to accomplish in education and citizenship. The other side does not.
We have a record and vision and voice to be proud of.
We have an unmatched record of success to run on. Here is that record at the highest level; but go to my website and take in the full details. No elected official in Polk County can match it.
- Educator pay: Led the School Board to commit $32 million to teacher/staff pay over four years. Avoided layoffs, provided small raises, and fixed the district health care plan, which was broken before Billy was elected.
- Champion for teachers: Fought back publicly when state government threatened to fire 1,600 teachers for attending a rally. The state backed down.
- Reduced local testing: Fights every day to create a Polk Schools experience that sees every child as a person, not a test score.
- Real oversight of $1.7 Billion district: Changed School Board’s longstanding culture of passiveness. Held non-elected leadership publicly accountable for performance and behavior. Held legislators publicly accountable for their complete failure to support and fund public schools.
- Unprecedented transparency: Forced the School Board to release video of all board meetings. Served as the public’s journalist on the Board and will continue to. Set a new standard of openness and responsiveness to the public, parents, and the media. Billy never ducks a call or a hard problem.
- Behavioral support: Pushed hard for a newly implemented behavioral support plan for kids, teachers, and staff.
- ESE reform: Prioritized humanity and services – not box-checking compliance — for Exceptional Student Education (ESE).
- Anti-segregation: Worked to reduce segregation in all forms. Pushed magnet school reforms. Fought bad charters; collaborated with good charters.
Our movement is voting for and advocating for that record and vision. That record is so meaningful to real people that more than 70 have taken the time to describe how I’ve impacted their lives for the better with the work I do as a School Board member.
See those testimonials at this link: they are powerful witness to the reality of what we’ve accomplished for real people.
The campaign of hard things worth doing
My campaign’s slogan is: Join the Fight! For every child. For teachers. For the future of public education.
(“Teachers” in that slogan is shorthand for everyone who serves kids in our public education system, from paras to bus drives to principals.)
I was discussing this slogan a while back with someone concerned about the imagery of the word “fight.” I explained that he had missed what we’re fighting “for.” And I think that opened his eyes a bit. When I asked him: “do you think those things need not be fought for?” he didn’t really have an answer.
I think this shows how far politics and public service have slipped in this county and community. In fact, you don’t see much fighting “for” in politics and civics anywhere these days. We’re trying to change that here in Polk County. It’s always possible that money and power and lies and national political divisions bounce off each other in precisely the right way to narrowly defeat us in this local election. That’s because what we’re trying to do is a lot harder than what the other side is trying to do.
That’s also the reason to do it; and it’s the greatest source of our success.
We are the campaign of hard things worth doing.
Join our fight for good. You’re always welcome.
We’re reminding everyone in Polk County that the public good does not sustain itself. It must be fought for, every day, by people of conscience and decency. It is much much easier for the wealthiest few people in town to underwrite public lies than it is to counteract them. There’s no way around that; and it certainly discourages good people from stepping into public life. But we are, in fact, counteracting those lies, every day, with how we go about our business. Moreover, drawing out and revealing the moral emptiness of power for all to witness is a major victory — no matter the final outcome.
It will never be easy to fight for the public good when power doesn’t care about the public good. But this campaign is doing the hard work of making it easier for everyone in the future, no matter who you support. That’s how you fight for the future. It’s a responsibility I’m honored to shoulder.
And that’s why we’re winning, morally and practically.
If you want to feel good about a campaign, come join our fight. I know some of you have already switched sides. It’s not too late. I don’t care who you wrote a check to. We want your best self now.