Thursday, September 01, 2016

Will the Real Erin Jones Stand Up?

Update:  below the thread is the fundraising letter Jones wrote.

Also to note, she gave an interview with My Northwest's conservative host, Jason Ranz (but reported by Dyer Oxley.  She is now claiming its about race.  The Stranger said this in their previous endorsement of her:
Members of the (Stranger Election Control Board) were impressed by Jones’s powerful comments about being the mother of black children and her commitment to fighting for equity. We were also excited about the groundbreaking potential of her candidacy, since Jones, if elected, would be the first African-American woman to hold statewide office.
Jones said to My Northwest yesterday:
Oh yes, It’s definitely tokenism. I am the first black woman (who would be superintendent), and I don’t’ believe I deserve to be in the position because I am the first black woman. I have demonstrated over 25 years – I was the most innovative foreign language teacher, I was a champion of change at the White House, I’m a PTA educator of the year. I have demonstrated over 25 years that I am excellent at what I do — that I have a commitment to my students, especially those in the margins. I have closed gaps. I worked at the executive level at OSPI. I am the best candidate in this race, not because I am a black woman, but because I am qualified.
The Stranger said she was qualified and would fight for equity.  Jones was happy for their endorsement when they said that.  Now that they pulled the endorsement, their endorsement was tokenism.  Again, very confusing on the part of Jones.

 Stranger Reporter Sydney Brownstone has responded to Jones’ statements:
I made no assumptions about Jones’ religion. She was quoted fairly and accurately; her words and actions speak for themselves. So does the article I wrote.
I'll just go on record that I believe Jones' is getting bad advice on this whole thing.

End of update

I have covered many political races, helped with campaigns and chaired a campaign.  That doesn't make me any expert but I have talked to several of them during that work.  I have never seen anything like what is happened in the Erin Jones campaign.
As you may recall, she said several things - to two different groups - that called into question her understanding about LGBTQ issues.  The Stranger looked into it, gave her an opportunity to clarify and she didn't.  They then took the difficult step of rescinding their endorsement of her candidacy.  (Really, it's egg on their faces for not vetting her properly and I give them credit for doing it.)

She then writes a very lengthy explanation/mea culpa, taking full responsibility for what she said and saying she had learned from it.  Next, she amends that explanation based on other concerns about her work with a conservative Christian group, Young Life.  The Stranger, ever gracious, actually prints that explanation without comment.  (Try seeing The Times do that.  It would never happen.)

NOW, her campaign sent a fundraising letter that has a very different viewpoint.  From The Stranger (I believe this is partial and bold hers):
A recent article by a Seattle area weekly paper has called into question my commitment to ending discrimination against the LGBTQ community, which as you know, is absolutely ridiculous.
This was not award winning investigative journalism. Far from it. It was a poorly researched and anecdotal — even editorial — article that twisted several statements I've made over the course of this campaign into something that you, who know me, wouldn't even recognize.
Let me be clear: this was a concerted effort by our opponents to undermine me with progressive voters and supporters, and I need your help to set the record straight.
First, I don't think The Stranger did call into question her commitment to that community.  I think they called into question her understanding of issues for LGBTQ students.

And, she says what she did not say in her public statement - that her words were twisted.

Why, if that were truly how she felt, did she not say it from the start?  Why now and why only to people who she wants a donation from?

I have to wonder who "her opponents" are.  Is she saying  Chris Reykdal had anything to do with it?  How could he or anyone else even do that?  The Stranger listened to the guy they didn't endorse to undermine the person they did endorse?  What parallel universe did we miss?

This is not about any particular issue as far as her campaign goes. It's about the ability to express yourself clearly, to answer questions clearly and, if you misspoke, to own it.

I think the only person undermining her campaign is her. 

I'll say it again. I don't think she is showing the readiness to step into this important office.

Jones' donor letter:

Dear --,

A recent article by a Seattle area weekly paper has called into question my commitment to ending discrimination against the LGBTQ community, which as you know, is absolutely ridiculous.

This was not award winning investigative journalism. Far from it. It was a poorly researched and anecdotal -- even editorial -- article that twisted several statements I've made over the course of this campaign into something that you, who know me, wouldn't even recognize.

Let me be clear: this was a concerted effort by our opponents to undermine me with progressive voters and supporters, and I need your help to set the record straight.

As I'm sure you know, I have dedicated much of my life to ending discrimination and changing the way we talk about equality for everyone, from the LGBTQ communities, to communities of color, disability communities and all who at times feel as though they are "different" within our schools and within society at large. I have made my position clear in recent days and you can read my open letter on my website that is linked here.

I will work with community leaders across the state to develop a comprehensive set of expectations for inclusion in schools -- far beyond the current discussion about the use of bathrooms that correspond with your gender identity -- and post it on my website in the coming weeks.

But for now, I must ask you to dig deep, and contribute whatever you can to my campaign knowing that I am the candidate who will work the hardest and smartest at making schools a safe place for all students, faculty, and staff to grow and learn -- without fear of discrimination of any kind.

We must not allow these stealth attacks to derail our efforts to improve our public schools for the better. Today I need your help more than ever. Please make a contribution to help me spread my message far and wide across the state.

Thank you. Erin

14 comments:

Po3 said...

The "blame the media" gives me TRUMP vibes.
Voted for her in the primary and had high hopes.

Watching said...

Jones is not ready to lead OSPI- politically or otherwise.

There is an open seat in Jones legislative district. It would have been best for Jones to serve on a school board or serve as a House Representative before taking on a state wide position. Jones has a lot to learn.

With many pressing issues, we don't need an individual that will face an enormous learning curve.

Anonymous said...

I agree. Thanks for your coverage on this important race. Affiliation with a conservative religious group does not mean that a person embraces all of the religious group's views (ask many liberal Catholics about this), but it does mean that the person needs to be clear about her own views if she is going to run for office. She's not handling it well.

- paying attention

NO 1240 said...


Gates has provided the Chief of State Schools with $15.4M. I can not imagine the manner in which Jones would navigate this grant. I can't imagine the manner in which her thinking would "evolve".

This woman can not be elected into office.

http://www.gatesfoundation.org/How-We-Work/Quick-Links/Grants-Database/Grants/2016/01/OPP1131456

To me, at times, I got the feeling that Jones would support charter schools...after McCleary was fulfilled.

Anonymous said...

Nice try, "Kate."

-- Ivan Weiss

Melissa Westbrook said...

Ivan, I feel for the Kates of the world. Moving on.

Po3 said...

Hiliary-

You SURE she wants you to do this on her behalf?

It really doesn't serve her at all, gives the appearance that she's part of your crowd!

Melissa Westbrook said...

Know what's really funny? The person who wrote that silly piece doesn't even link it to his own blog; he's sending you to someone's else's blog. Courage of your convictions and all that.

chrisstegman said...

I think all of this is utter knit picking nonsense. I'm voting for Erin. We ALL have a lot to learn no matter whether we are running for office or not! Stop that bashing of this black woman who has all the qualifications she needs to run this office.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Why did you bring her race into it? That's odd.

Of course we all have a lot to learn. I'd prefer to know a candidate is ready, not learning as the run.

Anonymous said...

I agree Melissa. Why bring race into it? I voted for Obama and although I was thrilled to have a black president, I would have voted for him regardless of gender, race, ethnicity etc. I liked where he stood on policies and what he said. I also supported Bernie over Hillary despite being a woman and understanding the historical significance of electing a female as president. Regarding Erin, some people really need to take a deeper look beyond skin color, gender etc.
-Marie

Act Six said...

Erin Jones proudly claimed her association to Young Life in her voters guide. Young Life brings Christianity into our public schools.

Erin Jones is also associated with Act Six:

"Director of the Act Six Leadership and School Initiative in 2005."

http://educationvoters.org/2014/01/06/erin-jones-to-keynote-activist-training/

"Act Six is a leadership and scholarship program that connects local FAITH-BASED community affiliates with faith- and social justice-based colleges to equip emerging urban and community leaders"

http://www.actsix.org/about/

Jones campaign proudly announced that she attended ACT SIX training:

https://twitter.com/erinjonesin2016/status/761980571597742081

Will Ms. Jones use the office of SPI to bring Christian view to public schools??

Double Talk said...


Speaking of Double Talk..What does Jones mean by this statement?

"Both Jones and Reykdal have close connections to the state teacher’s union, but Jones has an independent voice that could help lawmakers work toward a compromise on reforming the state’s teacher compensation system."

http://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/editorials/the-times-recommends-erin-jones-for-superintendent-of-public-instruction/

Seattle Resident said...

Jones complained- bitterly- about not getting WEA's endorsement. She felt SHE deserved the endorsement. Here is Jone's latest comment:

“I am not the labor lady. I have never been in the Legislature to advocate for labor,” Jones adds. http://www.thedailyworld.com/news/two-former-teachers-vie-for-state-schools-chief-job/


http://www.thedailyworld.com/news/two-former-teachers-vie-for-state-schools-chief-job/