CLAY COUNTY, Mo. – With Missouri’s primary elections right around the corner, the Build Our Bench (BOB) initiative has turned its sights on what’s to come in April of 2023: school board elections.
“For school board [candidates], it’s pretty simple: No mandates of any kind,” said Heather Hall, Northland KC councilwoman and BOB organizer. “Let the children go to school to learn. Let there be a wide range of beliefs on a panel to decide what types of literature go into which grade of schools that are age appropriate.
“We want to win because we want to protect our children going forward.”
Hall made it clear, though, that BOB does not endorse, fundraise or work directly for any specific candidates. Instead, potential candidates show up to BOB meetings and are presented with resources to help them in their campaign. Past resources offered at meetings include a public speaking coach and a vendor fair with companies who make T-shirts, signs and other campaign materials.
“Then, we invite them to be introduced to people who want to volunteer for them,” Hall said. “We bring together potential candidates and all the volunteers that we have amassed over the last two campaigns, and we say, ‘Who do you like? Who seems to fit you? Who do you want to volunteer for?’”
Public school education has been atop the list of heated debates across the country for some time now. Parents have raised concerns about Critical Race Theory, gender identity curricula and other controversial topics being taught in school without the parents’ permission, only for their concerns to be discounted by school board members.
In some cases, school administrators were even caught attempting to hide the curriculum from parents when virtual schooling allowed parents to see their child’s assignments for the first time. Those concerns and criticisms heightened after the National School Boards Association compared parents to “domestic terrorists” for raising such concerns, causing Missouri’s School Boards Association – and many others – to withdraw their affiliation with the NSBA.
After BOB helped three successful school board candidates across the finish line in 2022 – and with this year’s primary candidates already set in stone – the group has put its focus on the several Northland KC school board elections coming up in April of next year.
“The whole point of this philosophy of Build Our Bench is not just saying, ‘it’s a one-off,’” she said. “Currently, Build Our Bench is specifically focused on what’s happening in April of 2023. There’s roughly three potential seats in every [school] district where we could get a conservative Republican elected. Couldn’t that be amazing?”
BOB’s volunteers, Hall says, are focused on getting “freedom-loving” candidates who support transparency and oppose mandates on the ballot for school boards.
“Show us a good curriculum, show us an opportunity for our parents to be involved and show us no mandates,” she said in an earlier interview with The Heartlander. “Let the parents have a say in how their children’s education is unfolding.”
Hall lauded the “amazing group” of BOB volunteers that are zeroed in on recruiting worthy candidates for next year’s school board elections, saying the volunteers are “really leading the organization and I’m just a piece of the puzzle.”
“We have an amazing group of volunteers who are solely focused on [school board elections] in our Build Our Bench circle. They are extraordinary volunteers who really know what to look for in the passions and desires of a person who would be a successful candidate for school board.”
While BOB’s current goal is finding the right candidates to run for – and win – the upcoming school board elections, Hall says its overarching goal is, and always has been, promoting conservative ideals and candidates for office.
“The ultimate, overarching goal is freedom,” she said. “If we elect conservative candidates who believe in following the constitution, we will not fall into socialism. That’s the whole goal of Build Our Bench is to not allow us to fall into something that we don’t want America to be.”
Those interested in getting involved with Build Our Bench are encouraged to reach out to Councilwoman Hall at Heather@bobmo.org.