Bermuda Board of Supervisor’s incumbent Dorothy Jaeckle is re-elected to another term in a tight race and Carrie Coyner wins in solid fashion to take the School Board seat held by retiring Chairman Marshall W. Trammell, Jr.
Coyner took 9 out of the 12 precincts in the Bermuda District and garnered a margin of victory overall that averaged in the triple digits over her opponent Stella Edwards. Both were running for a public elected office as first timers, both have school age children and both were very involved in their communities.
Edwards brought her experience as a substitute teacher in the Chesterfield school system and her leadership roles in local and national PTA organizations to the race and did carry the Bellwood, Dutch Gap and Carver precincts. But, Coyner’s campaign managed to resonate its message to take a very solid victory.
When asked about the win, Coyner was quick to comment. “I am humbled by the number of people who came out and voted for me on Election Day. We ran a very positive campaign focusing on my leadership skills, community involvement, being a parent, and my ability to work as part of a team. I am grateful to everyone who volunteered over the past several months because I couldn’t have done this without them. My husband supported me 100%, and he was a tremendous help at home and on the streets talking with folks,” explained Coyner. “My top priority right now is absorbing as much information as possible in order to be prepared to work on the budget with other board members and staff.”
Reflecting back on the campaign, Stella Edwards said, “The most significant observation was the rampant political party influence on a school board race that is designed to be non-political. We have a system of elected school boards that is supposed to be independent of political parties. Thus, it is unfortunate that some candidates used party affiliation during their campaign, and physically provided voters with political party-based sample ballots at polling precincts.” Edwards felt she ran a strong race adding, “I kept the campaign focused on issues facing the school board and the children attending Chesterfield County Public Schools. I met residents where they were, door-to-door and in public and private forums addressing the importance of experience and proven leadership. The greatest strengths of my campaign were my credentials as a leader, experience as an educator and education advocate, productive involvement in the community, and 20 years of commitment working to ensure every child reaches their potential.” Edwards makes no comment on another run in four years but will continue working to hold leaders accountable to all students. “For over 17 years I have been working with the PTA/PTSA to help parents help their children in education, and I will continue to be a voice for students and their families.”
“It was not a matter of my message failing to resonate with voters. It is very difficult to run against a candidate with significant political affiliations and financial resources in a school board election.”
Despite carrying all but one of the precincts in the Bermuda District Board of Supervisor’s race, a well-funded Jaeckle enjoyed only a slim majority of the votes cast. The average margin in all the districts Jaeckle won was just fewer than 60 votes and in the Ecoff District only 4 votes separated the candidates. Jaeckle’s opponent, Mark Fausz, feels his message got out. “We (my campaign) focused on a number of issues but the one that stuck affected the precincts in and around Chester village. I think that had a lot to do with a contentious issue, the electronic sign in Chester village, that many people do not want. Those people live in the Ecoff and South Chester precincts. We also came close in a number of other precincts, bringing us just short of 47 percent of the vote. We hope that sends a message,” commented Fausz.
“I now appreciate the work it takes to run for office,” admitted Fausz. “It’s no easy task and it takes many supporters and money to make it work. My congratulations go out to Dorothy Jaeckle with respect for the work she put into the race. I wish her good luck over the next four years.”
About his future, Fausz remarked, “At this point, I’m looking forward to getting back to my job at the Village News. I don’t think it would be prudent to run again.”
For Jaeckle the main difference in the race could be summed up in one sentence, “I think that my primary strength was my service over the last 20 years.” When asked what she felt best about in how she ran her campaign, Jaeckle replied, “when putting together some ads for local papers, I asked various residents and people in public safety, community associations, businesses, etc., for quotes about their impressions of working with me. I was surprised at how many were willing to do so and some of the things they had to say. I will continue to try to build on those relationships as I serve the people of Chesterfield.”