Pleased with the race

Published 10:47 am Tuesday, June 20, 2017

We’re pleased that five candidates have filed to appear on the ballot for the inaugural election of school board members in Prince Edward County.

At one point close to the filing deadline, there seemed to be very little interest in the new democratic venture, spearheaded by a group of dedicated citizens seeking to inject a new style of representation on the board.

The candidates are Lucy Carson, Dr. Timothy Corbett, Dione Jennings, Elzora Stiff and Cainan Townsend, according to the Prince Edward County Registrar’s Office. The five have qualified to appear on the ballot.

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Though we’re happy with the involvement in this historic election, we are disappointed, though, that only one of the four seats up for grabs has competition. Jennings and Stiff are running in the Prospect District. Carson, a former principal of Prince Edward County Middle School, is running in the Buffalo District. Corbett, a current member of the board, is running in the Leigh District. Townsend, the interim director of education and public programs at the Robert Russa Moton Museum, will run in the Farmville 701 District.

We’d like to see more people running in each district, resulting in competition in each race.

The election stems from a referendum that was on the November ballot due to the efforts of a group of county citizens who obtained the needed amount of petition signatures for the referendum to be considered.

The referendum to elect school board members, rather than having them appointed by the board of supervisors, passed with 76.28 percent of the 8,350 voters choosing “Yes,” and the remaining 23.72 percent of voters choosing “No.”

Democracy is not a spectator sport. One can’t simply sit on the sidelines and expect the system to operate by itself, and the five who are seeking election the board have jumped on the field, and we commend them for doing such.

A healthy democracy requires involvement — like the vast number of people who voted in favor of electing school board members — to ensure representation on all levels of government.