By Stephen Groce
With the steadfast love and unfailing support of my wife, I have had the privilege and honor of actively helping to shape the future of our city, through my extensive volunteer work (see StephenGroce.com for details) and more recently through my campaign for the San Diego Unified School Board. These experiences have been the most rewarding and fulfilling of my professional life. I never imaged the kind of support my efforts would generate, demonstrating how many people are hungry for representatives who will listen to their concerns, and who understand the need for social and structural changes in our current School Board. True, I may not have the financial backing and political connections that my opponent enjoys, but the grassroots support I have received is worth more than money, and I am proud to say that I am beholden to no special interests and I will never answer to anyone except the students, teachers, and parents in my community.
Over the past week, I sat down with political pundits from both sides of the aisle and had an opportunity to discuss my second place finish in the primary election and my prospects going into the next 50 days prior to the general election. We went over everything in my campaign, from fundraising to advertising to hitting the pavement and shaking hands with the community. And quite frankly, the message I got from both of them was, “Steph, you may make an excellent trustee, but realistically you have no chance of winning in November, because you just don’t have enough money or experience to beat a two term incumbent after losing 70-30 in the primaries.” Well, CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!
I have never been afraid to take on a challenge, and have consistently been able to overcome obstacles throughout my professional and personal lives. And I have done so by adhering to a personal code: be a fighter, be a strategist, and find a way. When there is a job that needs to be done, when there is a fight that needs to be won, I will step into the arena with anyone and take the hits and fight until the final bell rings. And I want to make clear that I’m not just fighting for myself, but for all of the stakeholders in the San Diego educational system. I know that I will make a great School Board Trustee. I may not have the experience that my opponent has, but I know that 99% of the job is advocating for the education, needs, and services of students, teachers, and parents, and my opponent has demonstrated over the past eight years that he is unwilling or unable to be such an effective advocate. How will I decide what position to take or which option to choose when confronted with the hundreds of decisions that I will face as a Trustee? I will default to the FACTS: Fairness, Accountability, and Choice for Teachers, Students, and stakeholders. I am not an institutional educator or a career politician, but I am a lifetime learner, an independent thinker, a concerned citizen, and a loving father and husband, and if I did not think I was prepared for this role, I would not have entered the race.
This November, when you and your San Diego neighbors have the opportunity to “check” a box for School Board Trustee and confronted with a decision, please ask yourself whether you want another four years of micromanaged decision-making, questionable integrity, and narrow-minded vision, or whether you are ready to elect an independent and objective representative who will listen to your concerns, accept your feedback, take responsibility for his decisions, and use the FACTS to make the best decision possible. I give you my solemn promise that I will never stop working for what is in the best interests of our children’s safety, health, and education.
No matter whom you vote for this election, it’s important to exercise your rights and have your voice heard. Please Get Out and Vote!
Stephen Groce is a candidate for San Diego Unified School Board, District A