Jeff Carr, Justin Anderson, and Reini King are the three Abilene Freedom League endorsed school board candidates who showed up at the Hispanic Leadership Council (HLC) forum on Tuesday, April 5. They are running for seats on the AISD School Board on May 7, 2022, so be sure to go out VOTE! Reini King is running for Place 4, Jeff Carr is running for place 5, and Justin Anderson is running for Place 6 on the school board. All three of these candidates have signed the Abilene Freedom League’s Elected Official Protection Pledge which promises to protect Abilene students and staff against vaccine mandates, mask mandates, vaccine passports, unnecessary medical testing, other forced/coerced medical procedures, to support all legislation which protects against them, and to uphold their oath to follow the constitution.
The April 5 HLC forum allowed voters to hear the candidates running for all three places on the school board and it became immediately apparent that Jeff, Justin, and Reini are the change the school board, and AISD need. Their incumbent opponents have been on the board for a total of 33 years and it is noticeable. The current board members have failed teachers, parents, and students in the district. AISD has gone from the gold standard to being beaten by many of the districts around them. AISD’s failure to control students and have a quality administration who does their job has led to a massive loss of teachers to other districts and early retirement. The current school board can’t follow a basic budget as they spend $4,000 more per student than they are allowed. The current members made one excuse after the other about how the massive failures of the board are not their fault and how they want to do things but it either takes time or the rules won’t allow for it. The simple fact is these members have all had multiple terms to do the right thing for students, teachers, and parents and have failed at every level and their time is up.
Reini King, Justin Anderson, and Jeff Carr all have children in the AISD system, something NONE of the current board members can say. It is clear when listening to them that they have a much better grasp on what is going on in schools, how the teachers feel about issues with administration and the current board, and how the parents feel the current board doesn’t listen to their needs and doesn’t care. All three of these candidates understand what the problems are and actually want to do something to address them while the incumbents are perfectly happy just keeping power and keeping things the way they are.
The difference between Justin, Jeff, and Reini versus the incumbents was clear on every issue covered at the forum but none were more clear than when it came to the question about what the candidates would do if a new pandemic came in 2023 in relation to school closings, virtual learning, mask and vaccine mandates.
Place 5 School Board Race
Jeff Carr talked about how he handled the pandemic as a business owner and CEO. He listened to all the experts and read all the data that was available. He used the data and the facts out there to determine who was right and who was wrong. He went through all the published and peer-reviewed papers written about it. He spent hours and hours looking over and breaking down the available data in order to come to a decision. He talked about how his background as a mathematician and a statistician is something else he could bring to the school board to help them see the data to make the correct decisions. Jeff acted based on the information and didn’t close things down and buy into the illegal mandates. He said “The important thing going forward is making evidence-based decisions and not acting on fear. Not sacrificing our children because it makes us feel more comfortable. I think it is important to make the decisions based on the evidence, to care for our kids and do the right thing, not do what people think is the right thing. Sometimes that means slowing it down and reading the data. There was a lot of data coming out and it takes work. I spent hours” Jeff’s opponent, Danny Wheat,who has been on the board for 20 years and did nothing but make excuses for the way they handled the pandemic. He tried to claim that going through it was like experiencing a war which clearly sounds like someone who has never been in a war. In fact, Justin Anderson called him out moments later saying as someone who has been in war, this was not that. Wheat went on to say well if it happened again all the data would be out there but the fact is the data was available before the board made any decisions about masks and they were the only district in the area to vote this way. Wheat ended by trying to claim it was a public safety issue and if it happened again that he would listen to the same “experts” who put out propaganda in the first place. In the end, Wheat would do the same exact thing he did this time and he can’t be trusted to protect you or your child’s medical freedom.
Place 6 School Board Race
Justin Anderson talked about how you have to take your time, not buy into the hysteria, and then make a decision based on the facts. You can’t just make a knee jerk decision based on fear and propaganda and then keep changing because you didn’t do the proper thing in the beginning. He said our district was turned upside down by the decisions the school board made and this is the first relatively normal school year in two years. He talked about how surrounding school districts maintained 90% of their academics despite school closures while AISD tanked. Justin said we need to look at what other districts did and what we did and there needs to be accountability and change as a result of it. He said we need to be open and honest about the board’s failures, what we’ve learned, and what we plan to do about it. Justin later took exception to Danny Wheats’ comparison to being in a war and said “Having been in a war I like to remember those experiences good or bad because it makes me the person I am. It makes me and my friends who served resilient. I wouldn’t compare this pandemic to a war. People aren’t coming into a hospital maimed and missing parts. As for masking, and less you are wearing a chemical suit that you would see in a virology lab, you can catch it. Sorry, but unless you are wearing a sealed suit you are exposed. As for vaccines, we barely went through any trial for that and now people are getting sick and dying from vaccine injuries. They’re coughing up blood clots and all sorts of stuff. Even the service members that had to take that, they’re dying. The military community is experiencing heart problems at an alarming rate that they have never experienced before.”
Justin boldly spoke the truth about masking, vaccines, and the failures of the school board during the pandemic while his opponent, Bill Enriquez did the exact opposite. Enriquez is obviously willfully uninformed about COVID, masks, and vaccines and his comments on the subject proved it. He tried to equate COVID vaccines to polio vaccines which are not at all a valid comparison. One took a decade to develop and didn’t injure and kill anything near the numbers that the covid vaccine has. Enriquez openly admitted and almost celebrated that he takes his medical advice and his marching order from the federal government. He said “In my situation when it came to mask or no mask we took the mandate from the federal government. They said this is what needs to be done, this is what you will do, and that is what we did. All my kids wore masks. Even after they were off they still wore masks.” He went on to talk about public air versus private air saying “what you do in your home is up to you but when you walk outside that door, you’re invading everyone’s air so we need to be considerate about all of that. So that is my take on the matter.” Enriquez might mean well but he is clearly not capable of making informed decisions based on actual facts and data and has no business being in charge of what is going to happen to your children.
Place 4 School Board Race
Reini King spoke about how she was one of the lucky parents who were able to stay home and teach her children when the school board voted for shutdowns. She admitted that her child fell far behind and that was with her being able to be there, something that many parents couldn’t do. She criticized the decision to shut things down and talked about how it hurt kids and how far behind they are even now. Reini rightfully got upset and she passionately spoke about the mask mandates and the effects they had on her child. She said “Putting a mask on my baby that first year and sending him to school his first year as a kindergartner, no one at this table knows what that was like. There is a lot of moms and dads out there that had to drop off their baby to a person they didn’t know and they never saw their face at a place they have never been. I would never do that to anyone else's children ever again. Honestly, I felt forced to abuse my child. What we’ve done to kids in the last two years is punishment. We’ve set them back to a point they may not recover from. We may have lost a group of kids right now. The mental torture we put them through, the suicides, the struggles, the social and emotional things that they are going through, we did that to them. No, I will not do it. Bottom line, that is it.” Reini spoke up again moments later after current board members claimed they did the best they could based on the information they had, saying “By the time we started school that year no surrounding district put masks on kids. Even the doctors that we talked to at AISD didn’t put masks on their kids. The data was out by that point that showed kids were not getting sick and yet we still chose to do it. The data was there and it was because no one else did it. We are supposed to be the leader and we weren’t. Everyone else had packed sporting events and went back to life a whole year before we did. The data does matter but if you are going to look at the data you have to look at all of it, not just what you want to see”.
Reini clearly meant what she said and knew firsthand how the school board’s mistakes during the pandemic affected children all over the district. Her opponent, Cindy Earles, claimed that throwing masks on kids was the lesser of the evils while admitting the board failed when it came to school closings and virtual learning. Like the other two incumbents, Earles clearly had little to no knowledge about masks, vaccines, or COVID. She tried to make an unfunny joke about if I never have to do a zoom call again it will be fine with me. She ended her uniformed answer by saying “I wish my magic wand was fixed and my crystal ball was out of the shop but it’s not and I just hope that this finally runs its course so we don’t have to go back to it but if it comes right down to it is really education or no education.” The fact that Earles believes that masks are effective or it is the only way education can occur shows how out of touch she is on the issue. The facts show that the masks the school board members are in favor of don’t work and never have. It shows they do much more damage than good. Considering children are the least affected group by covid the answer is to stop operating on fear and do what is right.
As you can see, in all three races there is a very clear difference in the candidates and what they stand for. If you believe that holding the school board accountable, parents having a say in their child’s education, AISD being a place where good teachers want to come and stay, and most importantly, that medical freedom for your children are issues that matter then there is only one way to vote. That would be voting Reini King for Place 4, Jeff Carr for place 5, and Justin Anderson for Place 6. It is time that the school board gets some much needed change as they are not doing their job and haven’t been for a long time. The May 7 election is part one in the process to make the changes AISD needs to see.
If you want to watch the Hispanic Leadership Council Forum for yourself, you can do so here.
If you want to read more from the forum highlights for each candidate or know more about the three Abilene Freedom League endorsed candidates, here are the necessary links.
Place 4 Candidate Reini King
Hispanic Leadership Council Forum Highlights Article: Place 4 AISD Candidate Reini King’s Passion for All of AISD Was on Display During the HLC Forum
Candidate Website: https://aisdneedsreiniking.com/ Candidate Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/reinikingforaisd Place 5 Candidate Jeff Carr Hispanic Leadership Council Forum Highlights Article: Place 5 AISD School Board Candidate Jeff Carr Shines in Hispanic Leadership Council Forum
Candidate Website: https://www.jeffcarraisd.com/ Candidate Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/JeffCarrAISDPlace5 Place 6 Candidate Justin Anderson Hispanic Leadership Council Forum Highlights Article: Place 6 AISD Candidate Justin Anderson Will Fight For a Better District For Abilene During HLC Forum
Candidate Website: https://www.jandersonforaisd.com/ Candidate Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100077705435087
Written by Chris Turner
Online Content Committee Chair