BOE elections becoming more partisan, political analyst explains

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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – As the 2021 general election approaches, races are heating up. This year, those that are non-partisan are quite the opposite with republicans and democrats offering up endorsements.

“This is really a product of multiple factors coming together. Not only an increasingly divided and partisan country but the issues we’ve been dealing with COVID in particular,” said KSN Political Analyst Dr. Jeff Jarman.

It’s a trend that Jarman believes is only going to grow in future elections.

“That’s from city and government, now down to school board and water district,” he said.

A major focus is now being placed on board of education races.

“Many of the issues that school boards face are not partisan or political issues, but they are increasingly being framed that way and it’s allowed political parties to step in and put pressure on those issues, and get candidates into those races,” Jarman said.

BOE candidates are being endorsed by national and state politicians. Along with both Sedgwick County Democratic and Republican parties putting out lists of who to vote for.

“So you have people concerned more about freedom, or about common sense. Then you have other people more concerned about control and people just naturally line up where they line up. We just found an opportunity to elevate the name ID of Kansans who a step forward along the same lines of republican principles,” said David Thorne, Chair of the Sedgwick County Republican Party.

“So our efforts to get involved in this race is to not harm but it’s to protect the common good and more importantly to protect our public education system. Which democrats have a long-standing history of doing what is right and what is in the best interest for our public educators in our public education system,” said Joseph Shepard, Chair of the Sedgwick County Democratic Party.

Jarman said voters should have reservations about the new trend, “The concern is why would political parties be so worried about things that are non-partisan? That influence should be concerning to people because it runs the risk of jeopardizing the value and importance of public education in our society.”

You can learn more about candidates running this election, by clicking here.

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