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Editor’s note: Because Mr. Scott Booth was the subject of conversation in some of the texts we published between the Mountain Home Public School Board this week, I have agreed to allow him to use our platform to address some of the allegations surrounding his campaign by parties on both sides of the millage issue. — Chris Fulton
Since the very beginning of my campaign for Mountain Home School Board, there have been a number of intentional lies started about me that have spread as rumor. Since several of those rumors were shared or implied in the Observer’s Wednesday article about group chat messages within the Board members, I wanted to address those rumors and lies publicly in this Letter to the Editor.
Before the rumors, I want to state that I have run a positive campaign talking about ways to make our already fantastic district better. I have not disparaged any voter for feeling the way they do, and I have not spoken ill about Dr. Long, the School Board, or any of the individual members of the Board. To see it revealed in text messages that certain members of the School Board are working in the background to disparage and subvert my campaign because I won’t publicly campaign For the millage is shameful and disappointing. I have had several local business owners that know me personally ask me to put my sign on their business. Almost all of these businesses have been contacted and told lies about me in an attempt to get the business to take down my sign. To see proof that a sitting School Board member contacted a local business and told them a blatant lie in an attempt to get that business to remove my sign is appalling.
The first rumor to address is that I’m a member of the Ozark Patriots and somehow a political radical. This is simply not true, and it was started in an attempt to break support for me from those who disagree with the Patriots. I am a moderate conservative, but I’m not politically active. I have never attended any meeting or donated to any political group here except to speak as a School Board Candidate to the Baxter County Republican Committee and the Democratic Party of Baxter County. This rumor that I’m a Patriot has continued to persist, and I am asked about it regularly. Those who know my wife Allison and I, know there is zero truth to that lie. For a Board member to imply that my “core support” is from the Patriots is disingenuous at best. I haven’t asked any group to support me or endorse me, nor have I accepted any donations from anyone. I would be making the same statement if I heard that I was affiliated with any political group. I ask that I am judged for who I am and what I stand for, and not some rumor that you’ve heard.
The next rumor to address concerns the millage vote. I have seen it stated regularly that I am anti-millage, or I’m for “a” millage, just not “this” millage. It has also been stated that I’m secretly for the millage increase but won’t say so for fear of losing support from those against the millage. Both of these statements are fabricated as I have never said anything of the sort. Both are designed to break trust in me from the wide spectrum of support I am receiving from voters of the district. The revealed text messages show a sitting Board member saying that I won’t come out for the millage because I would lose my “core support.” Let me briefly address my position on the millage here. I made a decision at the beginning not to campaign For or Against the millage. It is my Principled view that it is not my place to use my platform as a candidate to sway the public’s opinion For or Against the millage, for a number of valid reasons. I have been attacked and pressured repeatedly from people on both sides of the issue who want to use me to bolster their position. I have said to everyone who has asked, “We need a new high school facility. That is going to take a millage passing. The voters need to educate themselves on this plan, and get out to vote so that we speak with a loud voice on whether the majority of voters in our district feel this is the right plan for our district, or if we need to come up with some other solution.” By not campaigning For or Against this millage, it has allowed me to have open and honest discussions with many people on both sides of the millage issue, to understand their point of view, without having a bias hanging over the conversation. My stance has also let me platform other coming issues within the district such as Mental Health, Teacher Morale, and LEARNS Act effects. There are plenty of folks on both sides of the millage issue to argue the merits or faults of the plan. I have chosen to stay above this issue rather than spend the ten weeks of this campaign discussing a singular issue. Because of this stance, I have been labeled an obstructionist, an anti-millage guy with an agenda, a pro-millage guy with an agenda, a coward, and the list goes on. None of these are true, and to see a Board Member implying some of these rumors in a group text message with other Board Members and our Superintendent is disappointing.
I have run my campaign on the core values that I live my life by: Honor, Courage, and Commitment. I have conducted myself with Honor, showing respect to all those that I have interacted with on this campaign, to include those that I disagree with. I have shown the Courage to put detailed thoughts online, stand in front of crowds to speak my thoughts, and answer tough questions. And lastly, I have shown the Commitment to stand fast in my principles, despite withering peer pressure to give in.
I am a Marine and respected business owner who has served my community on library and hospital foundation boards, and I’m an actively volunteering member of Rotary. My wife is a respected physician who has also served our community on a hospital foundation board and with Lions Club. It seems my campaign based on honesty, integrity, and transparency has struck a negative chord with some members of our community, and that should alarm us all. I will continue my efforts because positively impacting our community is my priority, and I hope those spreading negativity and lies will recognize their faults and change course before it tears our community apart.
Candidate for MHPS Board of Education