Monday, October 06, 2008

Speaking of Endorsements

Let’s get this straight. I am upset that I did not get the endorsement of the REA, or the Crusade for Voters or the Coalition for a Greater Richmond. If they had endorsed me, I would be a lot closer to winning this election. And don’t forget that those endorsements came with money or campaign help, which I can sorely use. So, it’s not a matter of sour grapes when I say that I would much rather have the endorsements I have than the ones I have lost. Because, dear reader, my endorsements are from people who know me and have worked with me and have watched me during my years of involvement in Richmond Public Schools. None of my endorsements come from guessing the preferred answer to a questionnaire or smiling the right way at an interview. I got all my endorsements the old fashioned way.

George Braxton. It is not a secret that when George decided not to run for reelection to the School Board he asked me to run for his seat. George and I have been cooperating on behalf of the children of Richmond as long as I have lived in Richmond. I have provided him support when he was right and criticism when he was wrong. He knows my ideas and my dedication, so it really is meaningful to me when George says:

Bert is the only candidate ready and able to take over the board seat in January. He demonstrates a keen understanding of education policy and his volunteer activities have let him see Richmond Public Schools from the inside.

Erin Bishop. I met Erin Bishop when I joined Friends of Fourth District Schools. Along with other members of the FoFDS Board of Directors, we have worked hard to support the schools and children of the Fourth District. Erin has said about me:

I have worked with Bert Berlin on school issues for the past three years. He is not a politician--he is truly committed to improving our schools. I like his ideas, and I admire his dedication. We would be lucky to have his service to our School Board!

I’d rather have Erin on my side than the whole REA.

Rev. Benjamin Campbell. Ben Campbell is one of the spiritual leaders of the Richmond area. Three years ago he started Metro Richmond at Prayer. He is the co-chair of the Micah Initiative. He is a trustee of the Richmond Public School Foundation and was chosen to be on the search committee for the new Superintendent. Ben and I have known each other since I became a Micah volunteer. In Ben’s words:

Bert Berlin is a thoughtful and determined man, a good listener, a serious volunteer, who is willing to put himself out for the children and public schools of Richmond. He’s the kind of person we all need on the School Board.

Tom Klein: Tom Klein is my connection to the business community. He is currently Chair of the Richmond Business Council of the Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce and heads its education committee. Tom and I have known each other since I moved to Richmond and when he learned I was running for the School Board, he asked to join my “team.” Tom says:

I support Bert Berlin because he is the best equipped to advocate for the changes needed to make the Richmond Public Schools the destination of choice for all school age children. Bert has been supporting the schools well before it was known that there was an open School Board seat.

Mieko Manual Timmons: Mieko is one of the city-wide coordinators for the Micah Initiative. She has also served on the Richmond Council of PTAs. Mieko and I, along with Mary Hetzel, worked together to form a new Micah Initiative project at Carver Elementary School with volunteers from my congregation. Mieko says,

I enthusiastically support Bert Berlin for the 4th District School Board Representative because he has demonstrated passion and commitment for our children in Richmond Public Schools for years, as a volunteer and strong advocate. He has worked well with school officials, parents, and students. He has gained their trust through hard work and consistency. With a vote of confidence from the School Board Chairman, that confirms for me that he must be the right person for the job. I also commend him for his dedication to public service.

Tichi Pinkney-Epps: Tichi is the past president of the Richmond Council of PTAs. I met her last year at a breakfast sponsored by Hope in the Cities. Since then, we have been cooperating on making Richmond Public Schools a much better school system. Whether or not I win the election, I expect to continue working with Tichi to mobilize the Richmond community to provide a great education for the children of Richmond. Tichi says:

I have had the opportunity to engage with Bert on many issues regarding public education in the City of Richmond. I believe he will be an asset because of his open-mind and profound ability to see the issues from all sides without deference to personal bias and special interest.

So, I ask you loyal reader, who would you rather have endorsing your candidacy? The REA, the Crusade and the Coalition, or George and Erin and Ben and Tom and Mieko and Tichi? For me this is a no brainer. Who needs the money and the campaign support when I have friends like these?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't live in Richmond but I do know Ben Campbell. His endorsement is definitely worth its weight in gold