Another local election with civil rights implication | Arkansas Blog

Another local election with civil rights implication


Civil rights issue simmer in more than Fayetteville today. Bentonville School District voters begin early voting today  on School Board seats. The election is Sept. 15.

High interest: The race between incumbent Rebecca Powers and challenger E. Francis Moore.

Powers has been a critical opponent — on religious grounds and supported by the ultraright religionists in the area, including outside the school district — of a proposed non-discrimination policy for Bentonville schools. Citizens for Equality, which has been pressing the non-discrimination policy that has split the board, quotes Powers as saying she votes "with God." She made disparaging remark about a student on a Facebook page, apologizing only after being called out. She's a vaccination skeptic. She's worked for Chick-Fil-A and had several short-term teaching jobs, including at Shiloh Christian. In addition to conservative Republican politicians, she received an endorsement from the local daily newspaper, which cited her experience (three years on the board). Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, who don't live in the district, gave her $1,000.

Moore is completing a degree in juvenile justice and works in juvenile detention. She promises a variety of programs: Bring back the DARE program, Support Gateway program, Support Bright Futures program and Support student advocate program. Advocate for building new elementary in west Bella Vista, responsible use of taxpayer dollars, rezoning only when a new school opens, build a comprehensive 10 year plan to accommodate growth including fiscally responsible budgeting and saving. But she also is supported by School Board member Matt Burgess and Citizens for Equality, not to mention the Young Democrats and Young Feminists at Bentonville High.

In short: This race appears to boil down to a familiar template. In Bentonville, that usually translates to a vote for discrimination.

To date, the School Board has been debating the need for a non-discrimination policy, but debates have demonstrated a split among board members on the issue. 

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