I was taken aback. I am a single mom. I am a teacher. I am a two-time cancer survivor who sees the world as her oyster. I love to write, give my time and talents to those in need, and help make this world a better place. I am silly and fun and want to live my life freely without people judging me for anything. The word politician has a negative connotation to me.
I'm a politician?
These days, I see why there is such a negative perception out there about politicians. It is a presidential election year, and the negative and scandalous stories out there are proof enough that associating yourself as a politician can get you in deep and muddy waters.
It’s kind of interesting to look back: before I declared myself as a candidate in December, I actually thought I knew nearly everyone in the Reno area. However, that was just my echo chamber talking. Since getting out to events to spread the word about my campaign, I realized just how many people and groups I didn’t know. Washoe County is huge and I have learned more about the inner workings of our community than I ever thought I would. These inner workings are mostly positive, but some are not.
I suppose I am a politician. But I refuse to compromise who I am at my core and tell people what they want to hear. If someone asks me a question and I know by his or her tone that they aren’t going to agree with me, I answer it with conviction, anyway. Our students deserve it. The hard working employees of the district deserve it. The Board of Trustees needs someone who is solid and independent at their core and not swayed by special interests or people who wish to persuade decisions that affect the people in the trenches…mainly the parents, students and faculty of the Washoe County School District. Open and honest transparency and communication are imperative on the Board, and I intend to continue that paradigm as I have before I declared, during my campaign, and as Trustee for District D come November.
I am what you would call "real people" and the entities that make decisions need more of us in elected positions.
Speaking of transparency, I have recently discovered that one of my opponents has not filed their Financial Disclosure statement, as is required by election law in the Nevada Revised Statutes. Nineteen days have passed since the Financial Disclosure deadline. Anyone who has not filed is required to pay a monetary penalty for each day it has not been reported. The amount accrued is up to about $750 now. That could feed one low-income student for about two years. This may seem like chump change to some, but for this single-working parent and for the working families in the school district, I find this offensive.
The only thing I can do is speculate as to why, and the more I understand the workings of the political persuasions in this community, the more negative my speculations become. Being dishonest and willfully not following election laws is an egregious way to start off a campaign to bring trust to a Board of Trustees. Our Board desperately needs people who are honest stewards of their own lives, without anyone behind the scenes telling them what to do and say, so that 65,000 students and the employees in the trenches can have pragmatic and empathetic advocates.
I would have loved to avoid sharing the above information with people, but whether I was running for District D's seat or not, our students and community are too important to me to let it go. Please truly investigate those running for any office. It's what I teach my kids and students to do, and as adults, we should lead by example.
I suppose part of becoming a politician is waking up to the naïve ideas I had of people actually doing the right thing by our students, future leaders of our community, and contributors to our society. I, for one, will do my absolute best to be called a politician while not succumbing to the areas of politics that give people a reputation for playing games and not being above board.
I am trying to teach my own children, and the students I am entrusted to mentor and lead, that getting involved with the community through politics can affect true, positive change. Use your empowered voice at the primary polls in June and the general in November to elect a politician who is transparent, pragmatic and someone who believes that students deserve the best decision makers for their futures.
That would be me, in case you haven’t caught on yet.
Live Life, Love Life, Impact Others,
Emily Reese...the Politician