Fort Bend ISD school board campaign turns up the heat
By Betsy Dolan
Early voting started Monday and, in a sign of the times, candidates have taken to social media to discuss issues, interact with voters and take pot shots at their opponents.
FBISD Concerns on Facebook has been a hot spot as candidates ramped up the negativity in the days leading to the start of early voting. The vitriol prompted the FBISD Concerns Administrator, Susan Driever, to re-post the site rules.
The most recent dust up, involves Position 4 candidate Kristin Tassin, who recently did an interview with the local Fox News affiliate about the overcrowding situation at two Fort Bend ISD elementary schools. Tassin, also an FBISD steering committee member, agreed to speak to the affiliate after scheduling conflicts arose with other steering committee members. In the interview, Tassin’s title was listed as “Fort Bend ISD School Board Candidate.”
“She is not an employee, nor a spokesperson, nor a trustee. Is the district going to take any action on this or can anybody now get in front of a TV camera and say whatever they want acting like they are speaking in an official capacity?”, read one FBISD Concerns post.
Other posters dug into the legalities and stated that Fort Bend ISD policy prohibits candidates from speaking on behalf of the district.
For her part, Tassin posted, “I did not initiate this news story nor did I in any way claim to be speaking on behalf of the district. I have served this district and was asked a question because I have actually participated on planning committees and have knowledge”.
Tassin was also recently left out of a Fort Bend Republican Women’s PAC forum despite, she says, being the only Republican woman in the race. She has also had to field questions from voters who have heard she is a Democrat and contributed to John Kerry’s 2008 presidential campaign. Tassin says she suspects local Tea Party supporters, who back one of her opponents, of being responsible for the mudslinging. Tassin acknowledges voting for Kerry in the 2008 Democratic Primary election because she “it was an important election year” but says she has been a conservative her entire life.
“I’ve been a lawyer for 18 years. I’m not going to be intimidated,” said Tassin. “But we have party politics being injected in a race that is supposed to be bi-partisan”.
Tassin believes that the rumors about her stem from another Kristin Tassin who has Texas ties and liberal leanings.
Meanwhile…back at FBISD Concerns
After a Bruce Albright (Position 4) supporter posted that Albright was a “highly decorated US Army Vietnam veteran”, Kris Allfrey (Position 5) asked Albright to verify his military service. Allfrey then posted a copy of his DD214 form confirming his service in the U.S. Army. So far, Albright has not followed suit.
In addition, two community members took to Facebook to make it clear that they had not endorsed Albright in this election as one of his campaign fliers indicated.
Even a sitting Fort Bend ISD board member got into the spirit, speculating that the “Q” in Q Iman’s name (Position 1) stood for “Quack”.
“The level of “noise” in this election has reached epic levels,” said Position 4 candidate Deron Harrington. “It largely reminds me of “high school and child’s play”.
Early voting continues through May 6. The election will be May 10.
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