Arlington school board candidates set for final week of campaign

By , Special to the Daily Memphian Updated: July 27, 2022 6:08 PM CT | Published: July 27, 2022 4:53 PM CT
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Arlington municipal school board candidates are strategizing their final campaign moves with Election Day just over a week away. 

Three Arlington Community Schools (ACS) board seats are up for election this year in the Aug. 4 elections. 

Jonathan Dunn and incumbent Hugh Lamar are running for the ACS Position 3 seat, while incumbent Dr. Dale Viox and challenger Cathy Wilson are vying for Position 5. Incumbent Scott Benjamin is running unopposed for Position 1.


Arlington candidates eye final stretch of election


The town’s early voting site is the Arlington Safe Room at 11842 Otto Lane, and early voting runs until Saturday, July 30.

Dunn, the founder and leader of River City Church, is running for elected office for the first time. He and his family have lived in the town for more than 18 years.

“I’m seeking to continue to encourage the voters to get out and cast a vote. The timing (of the elections) I think has been a challenge for people to prioritize it,” Dunn said. “My strategy has been to engage the parents, the ones with kids in the system.”


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He thinks his campaign has gone really well and that he has a lot of momentum heading into the final stretch.

<strong>Hugh Lamar</strong>

Hugh Lamar

“I’ve really enjoyed the process, and I’ve learned a lot,” Dunn said. “I believe this election is critical because it is about the future of our school system, and we need leaders with an ear to the ground and their eyes to the future.”

Lamar was elected to the board in September 2017. He believes voters should choose him for his more than five decades of experience in education with a focus in computer sciences, and today is an adjunct faculty member with Southwest Tennessee Community College.

<strong>Jonathan Dunn&nbsp;</strong>

Jonathan Dunn 

“I’ve been in education for 52 years at the college level,” said Lamar, who today is an adjunct faculty member with Southwest Tennessee Community College and is also a former Arlington alderman. “The school system has run well under us for the past five years, so if voters want more of what they’ve had in the past they should vote for me.”

He has not been to the early voting site yet.


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“It’s hot outside and voting is low in our district I hear, so I don’t think it’s worthwhile,” Lamar said.

Instead, he has spent some time with his sign standing out near Interstate 40, and he has attended as many community events as possible.

“It’s a very competitive race, so it’s just a matter of who can get the people who vote,” Lamar said.

He is concerned with the long ballot this year and hopes people don’t get discouraged while going through it and end up skipping sections.

Viox, a pediatric anesthetist at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, has held the school board’s Position 5 seat since the formation of the district in 2014.


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“I love this school district. After all, I was instrumental in building it,” Viox said. “I would love to serve another term. It is something I am very passionate about and will continue to pour my heart and soul into it if allowed.”

It’s a very competitive race, so it’s just a matter of who can get the people who vote.

Hugh Lamar,
 Position 3 incumbent 

Viox also serves on the Tennessee School Board Association board of directors and is in line to be president. He has been selected as a subject matter expert for podcasts and has contributed to the origins of a new national school board alliance.

“Experience matters. I have almost nine years of leadership in this district,” said Viox, who has taken a few days off from work recently to work the polls. “I’ve pushed my contributions to include obtaining a designation as a level five master school board member.”

He feels good about his campaign and thinks his contributions to the district speak for themselves.

Retired long-time educator and business owner Wilson is challenging for Position 5. This is her first time running for an elected position.

“It’s hard to say how the election’s going right now,” said Wilson, who estimates that as many as 135 to 140 people have come out to vote each day. “It’s not as much as I had hoped for, but at the same time, it’s been steady.”


Arlington school board incumbents plan for another run, challenger seeks a seat


Wilson has been at the poll site every day for five to six hours since they opened July 15, and she plans to continue that as much as possible until Saturday.

“I have a long history (45 years) in education. I’ve dedicated all of my adult life to education, and I feel like I know what teachers need. I know the law and I have specific ideas that I would like to see in place for the schools,” Wilson said.

“It’s been a learning experience for me all the way around,” Wilson said. “I feel pretty good about things. I’ve given it the best shot that I can. The good thing about all of this is I’ve met some great people.”

I have a long history (45 years) in education. I’ve dedicated all of my adult life to education, and I feel like I know what teachers need, I know the law and I have specific ideas that I would like to see in place for the schools.

Cathy Wilson,
Candidate for Position 5 seat

In addition to the three school board positions up for election this year, three of the town’s alderman positions are on the ballot.

Incumbent Alderman Oscar Brooks is being challenged by Jordan Hinders for Position 4. Alderman and Vice Mayor Harry McKee is squaring off against Steven Smith for Position 5. And Alderman Jeremy Biggsis running uncontested for another term in Position 6.

Topics

Arlington Arlington school board Arlington Community Schools

Michael Waddell

Michael Waddell is a native Memphian with more than 20 years of professional writing and editorial experience, working most recently with The Daily News and High Ground News.


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