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Rachael Kopec Withdraws from School Board Race

| May 31, 2010

Rachael Kopec

Rachael Kopec, a homemaker and former business coordinator who said she was running for the Flagler County School Board to give a voice to children, teachers and parents, ended her run last week despite qualifying for the race by petition. “I feel very naïve for not realizing it’s such a political position,” Kopec said. “I just don’t think that being a politician ranks high on my priority list.”

Kopec said she discovered that the time commitment and the political nature of the job, including the public glare she would have been under, were not the sort of things she was ready for. “I just felt like I still need to be the best mommy that I can be,” she said. Kopec has a 4-year-old son. “I learned that I’m not a politician. I guess that’s the biggest thing. I learned that the most important thing is my family and putting God first. I want to make sure that my moral compass is pointed in that direction and focused on my family, and not waste another moment being apart from them.”

Kopec was in a four-way race for the District 5 seat being vacated by Board Chairwoman Evie Shellenberger, who decided against running for a third term. Kopec’s withdrawal leaves the race to John Fisher, a 65-year-old Knights of Columbus insurance field agent who came within four points of defeating Shellenberger four years ago in a run-off; Sarkis Peligian, a virtual unknown whose wife teaches at Wadsworth Elementary School; and Raven Sword, a lawyer with the Rice & Rose law firm who recently won the Florida Bar Pro Bono Award for the Seventh Judicial Circuit. Sword is backed by Jim Guines, a former school board member.

Kopec said she wished the remaining candidates in District 5 her best, but that she had not made up her mind regarding whom to support.

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11 Responses for “Rachael Kopec Withdraws from School Board Race”

  1. elaygee says:

    I hope god keeps her far away from us

  2. Kevin says:

    Why do you say that? You spelled “God” in smaller case is there menaing in that as well with you?

  3. Pierre Tristam says:

    I’m not sure why elaygee would say that either. I’m suspicious of people who wear their religion on their sleeve, but there’s a huge difference here: Kopec was barely a full-fledged candidate, she was still learning the ropes, and she discovered that it wasn’t her thing precisely because she would rather continue being the more private person she’s been. I don’t see much room for anything other than respect for that decision. It’s bad form to condemn someone for conceding that she’s not cut out for the job after an honest run that, unlike other candidacies I know, had nothing questionable about it.

  4. cwhit says:

    I agree with Pierre in that respect should be the only thing given to Kopec in this matter. It takes a big person to keep their priorities in line and back down when they believe it is not the right job for them. I believe she handles herself with grass and class.

  5. Carrie says:

    I’ve had the pleasure of dealing with Rachel & her family for a few years now & she is a great person… Not called for!

  6. I applaud Rachel Kopec for having the gumption to run for the School Board, and admire her honesty and f prompt decision to withdraw for understandable reasons. It’s a shame (but necessary) for ordinary people to have to disclose so much private information in order to qualify for pubic office (personal tax returns and lists of assets). Worse is the needless abuse from a total stranger on this website blasts them for quitting and invokes GOD. It must be nice to have God at one’s beck and call. I am sure lots of citizens are now so worried about being called out that they will not run now regardless of their qualifications

  7. Donny Palmer says:

    Wow, elaygee… This controllers of this site should not allow people to post without stating their full name. I’m sure that would keep them from making arbitrary statements of that nature. We should all have the right to speak, but if what you say has no purpose but to hurt someone else, then BITE YOUR TONGUE! (or in this case FINGERS). Keep up the good work Rachel, good luck to you and your family. Hopefully some day our political system will allow private lives to remain private and we can get more good people involved in making the best decisions for our kids!

  8. Colleen Conklin says:

    Rachel was an excellent candidate for School Board. She had the best intentions for our school system. She did exactly what anyone should do who is considering a run – their homework. I’ve seen her at numerous board meetings, workshops and student events. I give her a lot of credit and greatly respect that she made a decision she felt was best for her and her family. I believe she also got to see that your life is truly not your own once you step into public office. I hope she stays involved in our school system and continues to work with us to make it the best it can be. And elaygee – my mother always said ‘if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all’ – your comment was uncalled for.

  9. Pierre Tristam says:

    Wow wow Donny Palmer, what next? Should voters also disclose whom they vote for when they pull the lever? You’re forgetting that anonymity is one of the essential safeguards (and yes, pitfalls) of the democratic process. That’s why it’s democratic: no police-state tactics or their web equivalent necessary when the process works itself out openly, as it’s doing here. Sure elaygee’s comment was in and of itself harsh. But were the responses and the rather impressive rallying around Rachael Kopec unnecessary, too? Would we have had them without the trigger? Many people learned more about Kopec here than they had in the weeks she spent on the trail. As weird as that sounds, we owe it to elaygee, who’s still taking a beating. And let’s not forget that Rachael put herself out for all sorts of public reactions, including reactions to her religious sensibilities, the second she stepped onto that trail. She’s not a ninny. She’s not a child. Let’s not condescend to her with this pseudo-chivalry that mocks the political process by suggesting that somehow, some candidates deserve more kid-glove treatments than others. What we need is more discussion and a lot more questioning under whatever guise, not more gate-keeping. So in light of this fascinating thread here, my thanks go to both elaygee and the rest of you who took time to comment, Donny included.

  10. Kevin says:

    Maybe just a wee bit of police-state, please?

  11. Donny Palmer says:

    Pierre, thanks for the comment, I do agree with nearly all of what you wrote… Saying that, please do not put words in my mouth. I think I spoke clearly. I said nothing of our system of voting only that if you wish to speak out in a public forum, you should claim your statement. A blog about an article has very little if anything to do with our democratic process, and I stand by what I said before. Let’s be reasonable when speaking of people and not insult their beliefs just because we can. Regulation is not what I asked for, I asked only that we require people to be honest and forthright thru owning their statements. If you wish to speak @ School Board meetings or County Commission meetings, you must state your name… Why not here?

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