Symone Walker continues her campaign for Arlington School Board as an Independent after effectively being barred from participating in the Democratic Caucus as a consequence of an opponent’s ongoing harassment campaign.
“From the very beginning, my candidacy was about what is in the best interest of our children and how APS can raise the bar and elevate all our students. For me, there never was and never will be a partisan angle to this quest. Yet petty politics leave me with no other choice than to run as an Independent in the November General Election.”
Arlington, Virginia- Community and Schools advocate and attorney Symone Walker announced today that she will not participate in the Arlington County Democratic Committee’s (ACDC) school board caucus for the party’s nomination, citing the committee’s inability to effectively address ongoing harassment her campaign received from an opponent in the race and instead will continue as an independent candidate for one of two seats on Arlington’s school board. Walker started her campaign in January after having received a favorable ethics opinion from her Federal agency employer finding her candidacy compliant with the Hatch Act and citing a federal statute that allows her to run for the school board. Despite this, an opponent has continued harassing her by filling and purposefully escalating a series of complaints with a clear goal to reverse these initial, favorable determinations and derail her candidacy.
School board elections are nonpartisan by state law and for a reason. After the political harassment against Walker succeeded in characterizing the ACDC caucus process as partisan enough to be not compliant with the intent of the law, ACDC needs to reconsider that the process now unfairly disenfranchises the approximately 37,000 federal employees living in Arlington, who comprise one-third of the electorate, many of whom are well qualified for the school board. We should be making decisions based on what is in the best interest of our children and as such, school board races should be as free as possible of partisan politics, which also means that all political parties should adapt their nomination processes accordingly.
“I have dedicated my entire 20-year legal career to public service as a federal employee. Serving is what I love to do. This is further evidenced by serving in our school community for well over a decade. I am running on a platform to bring equity, service, and accountability to Arlington Public Schools (APS), and although the ACDC process is no longer equitably accessible, the first step starts with ensuring that my campaign is above board on these principles. At this juncture, running outside of the ACDC umbrella and maintaining an independent candidacy remains the best way forward to represent the interests of all constituents, regardless of party affiliation. I look forward to participating in all candidate debates and for the opportunity to discuss my platform and the positive changes I plan to bring to APS,” Walker said.
Walker’s name will appear on the ballot for the general election to be held on November 3, 2020. More information about her platform and vision for APS can be found at https://www.symoneforstudents.com.
Symone Walker, Esq., has lived in Arlington for over twenty years, arriving in Northern Virginia from Jamaica, as an immigrant at age sixteen. Walker is a graduate of George Mason University with a B.S. in Psychology, of American University’s Washington College of Law with a J.D., and of the L.L.M. program in Litigation and Dispute Resolution from George Washington University’s School of Law. She is a mom, attorney, and community advocate who has been working on behalf of Arlington Public School students for over ten years.
Symone with her daughter and son.