Arlington School Board Candidates Showcase Priorities

(Monday, October 2, 2006 10:47 AM EDT)
With five weeks to go until Arlingtonians head to the polls, the two candidates for the lone School Board seat on the ballot are doing their best to get their names and positions out to the more than 100,000 county residents likely to cast ballots on Nov. 7.

“I want to hear what the random person is thinking about the schools,” said Sally Baird, the Democrat-endorsed candidate, explaining why she has been going door-to-door since wintertime in a quest to connect with voters.

Baird, who is making her first run for elected office in Arlington, is vying for the seat against Cecelia Espenoza, who is running as an independent. Espenoza ran last year, finishing third with about 20 percent of the vote.

This time, Espenoza said, she is taking a different tack in the campaign - actively targeting Democrats who might be disaffected with the party's near total dominance in Arlington politics.

“Last year, I didn't target the Democrats,” she said. “This year I'm targeting all registered voters.”

The odds favor Baird, because of the Democrats' ability to turn out voters. But Espenoza's run in 2005 helped her build name recognition that could help her bid.

The winner will succeed Mary Hynes, who is retiring after three terms and 12 years in the position. Hynes's seat is the only one of the five School Board slots on the ballot this year; since School Board members run countywide, all Arlington voters will be able to cast ballots in the contest.

The Sun Gazette profiles each of the candidates, and asks the tough questions, in profiles that appear in this week's edition.

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