A stand against partisanship

David Powell, left, joined Saugus Union School District leaders in the recognition of Kyle Evans as the 2018 Teacher of the Year prior to his unexpected speech on Tuesday.

A Saugus Union School District governing board member is calling for Santa Clarita Valley school board candidates to put students ahead of partisan politics in the upcoming election.

“We see the dissension and partisan conflict at the national level,” board member David Powell said during a speech at Tuesday’s board meeting. “It’s divided the country. It’s created a chasm which we have not seen in generations. Quite simply, our district is better than that.”

Citing George Washington’s farewell address in 1796, Powell said, “We’ve known the danger of partisanship for over 200 years.”

Democracies are fragile, Powell said, and Americans should realize that theirs has been around a lot longer than others in history.

“Trust between the government and people holds a democracy together,” Powell said. “Parents have entrusted us with the future of their children and this should be the touchstone of every single decision that we make as a board.”

Ideas should be based upon one simple question, “How does this help our children?” Powell said. “We need to remember that good ideas do not have party affiliations. Republicans have good ideas. Democrats have good ideas,” and ideas should never be discounted based on the letter behind their source’s name.

“We must aspire to inspire,” Powell said. “The welfare of our children is and should always be our true north.”

As election season nears, Powell said he implored candidates to avoid settling in the morass of party politics.

The crowd endorsed the message with powerful applause and board members shared their support of the unexpected statement in their board updates.

“I want to hear (that) we’re running because of our children, because of our teachers and administrators and students, not because we’re trying to turn the valley a certain color,” said board member Judy Umeck. “We need to do it for the sake of our cabinet, our new superintendent and all of you out there.”

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