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Jennifer Mansfield announces school board candidacy

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The race for District 3 on the Wake County school board has gotten potentially trickier for those who want to elect a neighborhood schools supporter.

Jennifer Mansfield, a leader of the Wake Schools Community Alliance, announced today that she will seek the District 3 seat now held by board member Kevin Hill. Heather Losurdo, past president of the Northern Wake Republican Club, has already announced her candidacy.

Both women could split the support of those who want to oust Hill, who hasn't formally announced his candidacy but has formed a campaign committee.

If the WSCA does back Mansfield, then the group won't be supporting Losurdo. Mansfield, as an unaffiliated voter, said she was told by the Wake County Republican Party that they won't endorse her over a GOP member.

That's what happened in 2009 when the Wake GOP initially backed Jerry Ballan over Deborah Prickett, who didn't change her affiliation to Republican until after the election.

Presumably, the Wake GOP will back Losurdo. The four GOP board members who attended the Northern Wake Republican Club meeting last month said they backed Losurdo

In her press release, Mansfield says the board has made a good start since 2009 in moving to community schools. But she said "too often our school board has let partisan politics get in the way of doing what’s best for our children."

"Wake County voters have grown tired of school board members bickering, of issues with high school accreditation, and of the politicization of our school system," Mansfield said. "For me, politics are — and should forever be – irrelevant in school board proceedings.

We need to focus on our core mission: providing excellent educational opportunities and building a track-record of increased student achievement. I’ll bring a students-first approach to the school board, and become the voice of the many Wake County parents who want education, not politics in our schools.”

The official filing period starts July 25 so we could have even more candidates. But will having Losurdo and Mansfield in the race make it easier for Hill or some other Democratic Party baked candidates to win or to finish in the top two on Oct. 11 to make it into a Nov. 8 runoff?

Incumbent board member Horace Tart failed to make it into the runoff against John Tedesco in 2009. But in that race there were no Democrats running.


Take this for what it's worth, but Heather Losurdo said she didn't know that the WSCA was still around when we contacted her today for comment. Losurdo said she's also looking forward to a "spirited campaign."

Kevin Hil said that, should he run, having this many candidates in District 3 "will lead to a thorough discussion of the complexities of serving on the school board."


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If the goal is to defeat Kevin Hill then wouldn't it make sense for both Jennifer Mansfield supporters and Heather Losurdo supporters to call a timeout and refocus on defeating Kevin Hill rather than each other? Focusing so much negative energy on each other benefits Mr. Hill, not Ms. Mansfield or Ms. Losurdo.


I'm very excited that

I'm very excited that Jennifer is running! She's clearly the strongest candidate of the three. She's a moderate who knows enough about the issues in WCPSS to be an independent, family-friendly voice on the board. Her knowledge of the magnet program is particularly impressive.

I can't wait for her to serve on the board. She is going to be a very strong board member for district 3!

Pro-District 3

As far back as I can remember, the board member representing District 3 has ignored the needs of his (or, before Hill, her) own district and allowed the interests of other factions of the board to dominate over District 3's needs.  That's why all the year-round schools are in the suburbs.  That's why there were no District 3 year-round schools unconverted in 2009.  That's why former Honors Schools of Excellence have languished into "Schools of Progress."  (Somebody needs to remind the district of the definition of "Progress.")  That's why area high school students pass each other going in opposite directions on their way to their respective schools.

District 3 needs a board member who understands the concerns of her DISTRICT and doesn't just rubber-stamp policies which aren't any good for District 3.  (That's why I'm behind Jenman.)

Losurdo surprised by WSCA?

Losurdo is surprised that WSCA is still around?

That's odd, since it's the only relevant qualification she lists on her resume.


I'm not a fan, but eminently more qualified than Losurdo whose experience is negligible.  

Re Splitting Votes

Hill would have to get 50% against both of them to win without a runoff. Just guessing, but he'd probably get a lower total against both of them than either one of them. Then, in the runoff, he'd be against the stronger of the two. Or maybe the runoff will be between Mansfield and Losurdo...

last district 3 election

Kevin ran against 2 people who split the vote. After the first election Martha LaVance had more votes than Alfreda Wilson, but then dropped out before the 2nd election. Kevin ran unopposed and "won." But together they had the majority over Kevin, and had LaVance stayed in the race she probably would have won.

I think that the all areas of this district are open to change right now. The rim wants stability, resources and equity, the northern tier wants choice and control. So it is anyone's race right now, and Kevin is the underdog in my opinion. There is too much frustration over how things have gone for the last 3 years for him to have a majority.

District 3 needs balance

And I think Jenn is the person who can provide it in a way that Kevin and Heather can not. We have very different schools with specific needs and we desperately need someone who can be family friendly and still take care of all our children. I am really happy to have her in this race in my district - she has my full support.

Thank you, Jennman!

Thank you very much, Jenn. This is a very big commitment, and I appreciate your willingness to take it on.  Your understanding of the issues and committment to equity will be a tremendous asset on the board of education.  I am very excited about your candidacy.



Good Luck JenMan

I am definitely one  Conservative Republican that will not be voting my  party's endorsement this election. Thanks for stepping up to the plate and running.

Thanks vor, that truly means

Thanks vor, that truly means a lot coming from you.

On schools JenMan and I agree for the most part

She is level headed and fair. She forms her school opinions on fact, not emotions. I think her liberal views will help to mend divisions between the two sides. But the number one reason is that JenMan is running above ideological party politics, she is running for the children best interests in mind. That's why school board elections should be non-partisan. Neither side has the perfect solution.

Congratulations Jenman, for

Congratulations Jenman, for standing up to the Republican machine!  As I've said before, I'm sure you will be a deliberative, open, hard-working, and caring board member if you win.

I share your feelings

Will you urge your friends to vote for Jennifer?

Hmm... "standing up to the

Hmm... "standing up to the Republican machine..." is that what this is about? The "machine" that resulted in 4 new board members who have brought about amazing, positive change and a new and better path for WCPSS, that "machine?"   

Say it again Woodstock!

You have hit the nail on the head.  Heather will Run a Strong campaign against Hill.  I forsee Jennifer coming third. Far to much support for Heather.   Jennifer won't even win her neighborhood. 

That's basically what you

That's basically what you said about Deborah Prickett in 2009 when you and Heather were busy endorsing Gerry Ballan.  We'll see.

Actually you are wrong

The Wake GOP has a process to Endorse a Candidate and that is 75% of the Wake County Republican Party Exec Committee apx 58 People must vote for a single candidate to get that endorsement.  The endorsement process happens after the filing period.  The same Exec Board had to Vote on a special Resolution to be able to endorse any candidate that is not Registered as a REPUBLICAN since we are the Republican Party.  The Executive committee had made a closed door Vote based on talking to Deborah Prickett with out YOU knowing anything about it Joe.  And for the record Joe, Heather is not a Member of the Wake GOP Exec Committee and wasn't at the time of the Vote in 2009.  the 2011 Endorsements will be done in August 2011. 

Hasn't she said she did not

Hasn't she said she did not seek the GOP's endorsement? 

positive change?

Being nationally mocked (Colbert and others) can hardly be seen as a positive change.  An abrupt halt to business interest in moving to Wake given the push toward policies that will harm our schools (turn them into have/have not schools based on neighborhood) hardly seem like positive change.  I hope JM has the heart to actually care about education for all students in the whole county and not just those with money. I also hope she stops the unprofessional slide the BOE has taken with Margiotta at the helm (here come the animals), JT as its outspoken voice (pinkie hair, prom queen) and at the very least can be reasoned as Kevin Hill is.  I think Kevin Hill has been a wonderful voice of reason and experience on the board - in sharp contrast to the majority members.

I don't see how being

I don't see how being "mocked" but the likes of Colbert means anything whatsoever....

If Colbert is where you get you information and how you form your opinions, you too should be mocked.

Well, I am sure Hill is

Well, I am sure Hill is just thrilled that he can count on your vote.

FYI: Colbert mocks everyone; it is his schickt. He is a comedian on a comedy network. Hello?!

I once heard that in

I once heard that in Baghdad, Iraq, 90% of the people cited taxi drivers as their primary source of information.  In liberal America, 90% of the people get their information from Colbert and John Stuart.

I once heard that a lot of

I once heard that a lot of people make up statistics to support ridiculous arguments.

I bet you heard that on

I bet you heard that on Colbert.....

No, but it does seem like

No, but it does seem like something he would say. I haven't watched it in a while.

I once heard that people

I once heard that people make up anecdotes to rebut other anecdotes.

I was defusing a baseless

I was defusing a baseless accusation with humor and a bit of truth. I almost always take statistics with a grain of salt, even if I agree with them. Unless they're well sourced, you can assume at least a 5-7% degree of error.

Andrew, Hopefully you

Hopefully you realize that my comment was meant as a joke, not to be factual. The Iraqi stat was pretty accurate but I can't find the article where that actual poll was reported (it was in 2003 or something). I completely made the liberal stat up but I did once see a poll regarding college students in which a staggering percent claimed to get there news from Cobert and Stuart. Not sure how valid the poll was.
I was, of course, mocking the FACT that Satch above referenced Cobert as if that should mean anything to us who actually live in WC and know the reality. I'm interested to know if you, as a young person, think we should base any of our policies on whether or not Cobert will mock us?

Hill will run on his accomplishments

Any candidate in District 3 will be challenged as Mr. Hill will be able to run on his record.   

He can point to how he consistently recognizes the WCPSS staff for all their hard work. 

He can point to how he brought forth ideas to improve the placement / education of students .... wait a minute, he hasn't brought forth any changes and fought against the eliminating "EI". 

He can point to his experience as a former educator within WCPSS and the budget reduction ideas that he has brought forth during these difficult economic times.... wait a minute, don’t remember any of those either.  

He can point to his success in working within a majority / minority atmosphere and how effective he has been at persuading / seeking comprise when not in the majority.... wait a minute, nope, just what appear to be delay / stall tactics.  

He can point to his success in supporting his constituents to the best of his abilities.... wait a minute, there was that little "collusion / agreement to stonewall" against his constituents that should have been investigated by OCR.  

He can point to how he immediately addressed the illegal use of Free & Reduced Lunch status within the WCPSS assignment plan when notified by the USDA in 2009.... wait for it... nope, just continued along status quo.  

He can point to his selection of Mr. Tata as WCPSS Superintendent... wait a minute... didn't he vote no?

He can point to his full engagement observed in the televised Board Meetings / COW session... wait a minute, he is usually disengaged and twirling his pen.


for another ditto-head.

You're Uninformed

Obviously your goal was to be the first poster, not necessarily one with substantive knowledge of the person nor the issues.

To be fair, he wasn't the

To be fair, he wasn't the first. Check the timestamps.

This is the same "JENMAN" poster right?

sorry I have only been following this stuff for the last year or so.  is Jennifer Mansfield the Jenman blogger? If so, she sounds like a very knowledgable, intelligent and informed person.  I would definitely support her. 

Yes, one and the same. 

Yes, one and the same.  Jennifer is extremely well-informed and balanced, and I believe she has earned the respect of "both sides."

Agreed! Congrats on the

Agreed! Congrats on the decision, Jennifer, and best of luck in the race. I can't wait to see you sitting at that table.

jenman has been a consistent voice of reason on this blog

who I respect.  I hope she wins.


I'm thrilled at the prospect of Jenman being on the BOE!  She had been a calm voice when discussing the issue of the day.  I have been impressed that she considers both sides when commenting on the blogs.  She has a very in depth knowledge of the WCPSS and issues we have been facing for sometime now!  You have my support! 

Couldn't agree more Bob. 

Couldn't agree more Bob.  Best of luck Jennifer. 

If the WSCA does back

If the WSCA does back Mansfield, then the group won't be supporting Losurdo. Mansfield, as an unaffiliated voter, said she was told by the Wake County Republican Party that the won't endorse her over a GOP member.

WSCA will be issuing a press release endorsing Jennifer Mansfield.  The GOP made it pretty clear that they value party affiliation above all else.  We certainly encourage the current Republican board members to make up their own minds, and to consider supporting Jennifer based on her strong track record of involvement in Wake County Schools and her strong advocacy for community schools and academic excellence.

What is the purpose of

What is the purpose of endorsing a candidate that would only end up splitting votes between two pro-family candiates that support neighborhood/communitiy schools and academic excellence. Is your personal and partisan animosity toward Republicans worth having Hill voted in for another 4 years? What is your goal? Is it an attempt to have it your way or is it to succeed in transforming WCPSS?

Look at where the system is now versus before the board took office. They are way, WAY down the road to making significant and historic changes that will provide many benefits to students and family for years to come. They are much further down the road than anyone could have anticipated prior to the '09 elections.  Now the board is asking for reinforcements and Losudo stepped up for this very demanding task. Why would you want to upset that progress and not trust the folks who got us where we are? It makes no sense.

There's another way to avoid splitting the vote

"What is the purpose of endorsing a candidate that would only end up splitting votes between two pro-family candiates that support neighborhood/communitiy schools and academic excellence."

There's another way to avoid splitting the vote:  Losurdo could choose to drop out of the race.

While Losurdo would have been far preferable to Hill, Jennifer Mansfield has put a great deal of effort into understanding the issues and will be far more capable of capturing the middle of the road voters, and those who are sick of the partisan sniping.  Democrats who are informed about the issues could vote for her with a clear conscience, whereas a Republican candidate who has begun her candidacy with a heavy partisan drive will have a real uphill battle capturing the Democratic and Independent votes.

No one has officially filed yet.  There would be no shame in stepping aside and supporting a candidate who has a better chance of defeating an incumbent candidate whose representation has been disastrous for his district.  Just because she threw her hat in the ring first doesn't mean that she should get to be "the" candidate to oppose Hill.  Political office shouldn't be decided by who called "dibs" first.  


It is too early for anyone

It is too early for anyone to drop out.  It would be counterproductive to have one candidate drop out in lieu of supporting another candidate only to have that candidate drop out, or have their reputation smeared or God knows what.  NO ONE SHOULD DROP OUT--unless they have personal reasons (remember the Tedesco race where some of the candidates did some bizarre things.)  Jenman has posted on the blog here for some time and some of us have met and interacted with her; we may not have had the same kind of interactions with Ms. Losordo but that doesn't mean that she isn't just as capable and well-reasoned.  Many of the posters here may not even be eligible to vote in District 3.  I am hoping they will all stick it out so that we can see what happens in the candidate forums and I suspect that this campaign season the questions will be far more specific than those posed in the last forums.  I also hope Mr. Hill loses or chooses not to run--we need better representation than what he has provided. 

I disagree

Political races are expensive and time-consuming.  Why run one unnecessarily?  

Good question. Maybe you

Good question. Maybe you could ask the folks at WSCA.

Losurdo could choose to drop out of the race

I agree with your post. Jennifer Mansfield is the best choice for Distict 3 and very popular among the parents. We need GOP support for defeating Hill. I hope other GOP Board members will privately advise Losurdo to step out. Please do a right thing.

If you need GOP support to

If you need GOP support to defeat Hill, do what is necessary to gain that support.

Have you informed WSCA that GOP support is needed?

See, this the heart of the problem; this race seems to have become about an infatuation with individual and not the mission at hand.

what is the mission?

To ensure all students receive a good education. 

Who is the best qualified?  Based strictly on what Jenman has written on this blog, I'm confident that she would be an excellent choice. It's time for all of us to focus on student achievement, rather than politics. 

I don't know the views of the GOP candidate, therefore, I don't have an opinion on her candidacy.

GOP support

I hope that the GOP focus will be on defeating Hill.

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About the blogger

T. Keung Hui covers Wake schools.