Thirty-four people attended the recent meeting of the Democratic Women’s Club of Marco Island (DWCM).
Jane Schlechtweg opened by reminding everyone about early voting (which began on August 18) for the Primary. She also announced a change of venue to the Community Center in Mackle Park for the September 11 and October 9 meetings.
School Board candidate Dr. Kathy Ryan addressed the group. She was a teacher, a counselor, and administrator for 37 years, 30 of which were in Collier County. Since retirement, she continues to volunteer in Collier County Schools, keeping abreast of current trends, tests, and problems. She pointed out that if she is elected, her extensive experience in the school system makes her ready to be a productive member of the School Board from day one.
When asked why she was running for School Board, Dr. Ryan answered that teaching is “In my blood.”
Dr. Ryan held a group discussion about the home-schooling phenomenon and charter schools. She reiterated that she has mixed feelings about both but maintains an open mind. Her worry is that tax dollars that should go to public schools would be diverted elsewhere.
Dr. Ryan is concerned that in the past schools that received a failing grade from the state received more money to help improve the situation. Now the money goes to the schools that receive the highest rating. She plans to “rattle some cages” and lobby for a change.
When asked what she most wants voters to know about her candidacy, Dr. Ryan said, “My life allows me to devote almost all my energy to the responsibility of a School Board member. As a School Counselor, my job was to be a good listener. As a School Board member, I will listen carefully to the needs of the entire community.”
Following Dr. Ryan was Sandra McClinton, who spoke of the Democratic Women’s Club of Florida’s (DWCF) endorsed candidates. DWCF has carefully researched each candidate and each amendment and offers recommendations. Ms. McClinton discussed the 13 proposed amendments. The DWCF recommends to vote “Yes” on Amendments 3, 4, 9, and 13 and vote “No” on all the rest.
The meeting ended with a group discussion about “Why do we need to turn Florida blue,” and “How to turn Florida blue.” The group discussed how to be active in the election and where and how to obtain information about the candidates so as to be an informed voter. Everyone was encouraged to participate in phone banks. It was also pointed out that when many people were interviewed about the main issue that concerned them, the answer was red tide and the current state of our beaches, water and environment. It is important to listen carefully to all candidates to determine their positions about ameliorating the condition of our waters and eliminating red tide.