Editor: Voters in Catoctin District have a choice when it comes to School Board representation this Nov. 5.
Zerell Johnson-Welch applied for, and received, the endorsement of the local Democratic Committee and the non-partisan LEA (Loudoun Education Association.) Jenna Alexander, running as an independent and known for her advocacy for small schools in Western Loudoun, has said she chose not to apply for the Democratic endorsement because she felt it was in conflict with her position at the PTA. The non-partisan LEA declined to endorse her. Alexander did, however, receive and embrace the endorsement of former Catoctin School Board Member, Erik DeKenipp.
As a parent of two high school students, and someone committed to a school environment that is safe and welcoming for all students, I am deeply troubled by Alexander’s proud acceptance of DeKenipp’s endorsement. Alexander’s campaign Facebook page states, “I appreciate his full support and endorsement.” In one of DeKenipp’s last meetings as a School Board Member before abruptly resigning, he was one of only two representatives to vote against a gun violence prevention resolution, telling the room, “I’m armed every day, I’m armed right now…” According to the Nov. 4, 2018, Loudoun Now article, he “dismissed concerns about high-capacity magazines by saying he can reload his weapon in seconds.” His behavior at this school board meeting was especially shocking as it occurred in the face of students and staff who had spoken candidly about their fear of gun violence in our schools. DeKenipp also voted against adding basic protections for LGBTQ+ students and staff to LCPS policy in 2017.
I am concerned that Jenna Alexander is sharing DeKennip’s endorsement as a positive thing. It leaves many Catoctin District voters quite unsure about her genuine values and priorities. I, for one, will vote Nov. 5 for a candidate that does not send mixed messages about their basic priorities and positions.
I will cast my vote for Zerrell Johnson-Welch for Catoctin School Board.
Kristen Swanson, Lovettsville