IRIS WINS SCHOOL BOARD ELECTION (1990)

As our children grew, Iris (my 1st wife) became more interested in volunteering and doing things directly related to them. Over time, she became a PTO volunteer and eventually rose to President. Around the time our son was in 9th grade at Easley High and our daughter in 6th at West End Elementary, she decided to run for the Pickens County School Board as representative for the Liberty district. (Pickens had a total of 9 positions, 6 assigned geographically, 3 at-large.) She was the underdog, as there was an incumbent, unknown, and considered not really from Liberty, as we lived just outside Easley city limits, five miles away from Liberty; also, we had little money to invest in campaigning, and not a whole lot of knowledge about how to get elected. It was not a paid position—you got $250 per year expenses, yet were required to visit all schools at least once a year, and go to meetings monthly, so even auto expenses were barely covered—thus it was not a coveted position.

We prayed for her to win, as she desired this because she felt she could have some impact for good and because she felt it would give our kids an edge in school. The Lord provided several connections that helped a little—the support of home-schoolers, e.g., at a time when they felt they had little say in the system. But the biggest stroke came some 2 months before the election, when the School Board voted “against” prayer in the system. This raised such a furor that one influential Baptist church in Liberty took out full page ads in all 3 county newspapers, saying in essence, “These candidates are up for re-election. We don’t care who you vote for—just vote them out!” Iris won by about 28 or 30 votes with about 2700 cast—slightly over 1%!

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