The Volusia County chapter of Moms for Liberty, a conservative activist group, will host three debates as School Board races heat up in June.
The first debate for a West Volusia School Board race will take place 6-8 p.m. Monday, June 27, at the Wayne G. Sanborn Activity Center, 815 S. Alabama Ave. in DeLand. The debate, as of May 12, will feature three of the four current candidates for School Board District 1: incumbent Jamie Haynes, Georgann Carnicella and Ginny-Beth Joiner.
District 1 is the DeLand area and points north.
Jaclyn Carrell, another candidate for District 1, was invited to participate in the debate but declined, according to Moms for Liberty Chapter Chair Jenifer Kelly.
Carrell, who was once affiliated with the organization, was suspended by Moms for Liberty by a vote of the Volusia County chapter’s Executive Board, according to Kelly.
On Thursday, June 30, School Board District 5 candidates incumbent Ruben Colón and Fred Lowry will debate 6:30-8:30 p.m. at The Center at Deltona, 1640 Dr. Martin Luther King Blvd.
As of May 12, Lowry, a member of the Volusia County Council who has drawn criticism for his endorsement of various conspiracy theories, is Colón’s only opponent.
District 5 is the Deltona area.
The group will hold a third debate Thursday, June 2, for candidates for an East Volusia School Board race. From 6 to 8 p.m. June 2, some of the candidates for School Board District 3 will debate at the Coronado Civic Center, 150 N. Pine St. in New Smyrna Beach.
It was announced that three of the five current candidates for District 3 will be in attendance: Jessie Thompson, Justin Kennedy and Kim Short. Candidates Emmanuel Swift and Wendy Weisheimer will not be in attendance.
District 3 incumbent Linda Cuthbert is not running for re-election.
All three of the debates will be moderated by members of the Moms for Liberty Executive Board, and questions will be submitted by chapter members.
“Although the public is invited, we will not be taking random questions from the audience,” Chair Kelly told The Beacon.
Members of Moms for Liberty have been regular attendees to Volusia County School Board meetings in recent years, with members opposing mask mandates in public schools.
District 1 candidate Joiner was so far the only West Volusia candidate to comment on the group’s ideals and the debates.
“Do my ideals align closely with the mission of Moms for Liberty? No,” she wrote in a Facebook post May 10. “Am I always willing to have a civil conversation about our education system and specifically VCS? Absolutely.”