November 7th is election day around the country, with many Senatorial and Congressional seats up for grabs. But in Ohio, there is also a crucial battle going on for seats on the state board of education. In particular, Deborah Owens Fink, the primary force behind the push to get ID into public schools there one way or another for the last 5 years, is up for reelection. And unlike the last election, this time she has serious opposition in former congressman Tom Sawyer. Sawyer is the former mayor of Akron, a former state legislator and an 8 term US congressman from Ohio.
Sawyer’s bonafides for a board of education seat are impressive. He is a former school teacher, and husband of a school teacher. He was the chairman of the House Education Committee during his time in the state legislature of Ohio, and was a member of the education committee in the US House of Representatives as well. So this is a guy who brings an enormous amount of experience to the job, which has Owens Fink scared.
This is the first serious challenger she’s had in her career on the board of education. How has she reacted? By denigrating the importance of the board of education itself! In an August 14th article by the Gongwer News Service (a legislative reporting service in Ohio), she is quoted:
Ms. Owens Fink, who has previously run unopposed, noted Mr. Sawyer hasn’t had much political success since losing re-election to Congress following redistricting.
“In his previous elections, he hasn’t done very well. I guess he needs a job,” she said. “If he doesn’t win this one then he can run for dog catcher.”
I guess Owens Fink thinks that serving on the state board of education is a big step down from Congress, and just a small step above dog catcher. Small wonder, since Owens Fink has spent most of her time on the board serving as a lapdog for the Discovery Institute, pushing their anti-science agenda with zeal and vigor. Sawyer, however, recognizes the importance of serving on the BOE:
People ask why a former congressman would run for school board. I say, isn’t it high time the Board of Education was that important?
I urge my readers in Ohio not only to vote for Sawyer, but to get involved in his campaign. There are many things you can do, from handing out campaign information to answering phones to donating money to help the campaign. If you just want to help out financially, go to his campaign website and follow the prompts. Or send a donation directly to:
Martin Spector, Treasurer
4040 Embassy Pkwy, Suite 500, Akron, OH 44333
If you want to volunteer your time, contact Steve Weeks at firstname.lastname@example.org. He is the volunteer coordinator for the campaign. And for information about other races in Ohio, visit the website of Ohio Hope.
School board elections in Ohio are not partisan, those who run do not declare a party platform, so it doesn’t matter what your political affiliations are. All that matters is that you recognize the danger of allowing Owens Fink and her fellow creationists to play with the state science standards and water them down further, and that you recognize the importance of keeping science education strong in Ohio and the rest of the nation.