Voices from the Idaho EdNews Community

Rebuttal from Boise trustee candidate Neil (Gnome) Mercer

As a candidate in Race #2 for Boise School Board Trustee, I would like to respond to recent news articles and incumbent endorsements.  The overall undertone in the media and endorsements, seems to imply that because some candidates are associated with a parent’s group and “endorsed” by some fringe minority group, that those candidates should be feared.  An uneducated and shameful conclusion.  I need to clarify a few things.

First, when I entered a non-partisan race, I was expecting it to be just that. The ones making it a politically divisive race are the ones complaining about how politically divisive it is. I was invited to speak to the Ada County Republicans, so I did. If the Democrats had sent me an invite, I would have loved to go and speak with them and hear their thoughts too. But they didn’t. I have not accepted any endorsement from a political group or union.

The Nampa School District book ban has been brought up frequently, and the media and incumbent endorsements imply that the non-incumbent candidates would do the same as what occurred in Canyon County. I have participated in interviews with the other candidates (including incumbents), and released candidate responses to questions regarding book bans.  My answer: I am against them on principle and have had zero communication with any of the Nampa School Board members.

As far as being associated with a parent’s group, yes, I am associated, as I think input is critical from all groups as I am pursuing a position on the Board.  I have also responded to interview and written questions that make it clear that while I may agree with this particular group on some issues, there are plenty topics where I don’t agree. The same can be said of myself and all of the other candidates, incumbents included. There isn’t a candidate in this race that I don’t share multiple views with – just not all views.  I have not accepted any endorsement from any group representing parents or students.

The Trustees that are not up for re-election this year, along with former Trustees and Administrators, have made some very wide sweeping generalizations about “pro parent” candidates, which they have labeled me, that just aren’t true.  What do we ask of our students?  We ask them to show us their work.  I expect the same of current and former BSD leadership and Trustees, but this group didn’t show their work.  Heck, they never even contacted me.  The fear mongering has got to stop.

Lastly, I was outraged that Idaho Ed News and the Statesman published information about the Liberty Dogs. Having been obliquely tarnished by these insinuations, I would have thought a reputable media outlet, such as the honorable Statesman or Idaho Ed News would have 1) alerted me and 2) sought a response from the candidates. NO ONE attempted to reach me for comment. There is no room for hate in the Boise School District, and I have no ties to this group, nor did anyone from that group contact me.  The insinuation from the media is that because the Dogs endorsed the “pro-parent” candidates, somehow, we share the same philosophy. That would be akin to saying that because both the Statesman and Mahmoud Abbas endorsed President Biden that the Statesman also denies the Holocaust. I know this to be a false argument, just as I know the voters in the Boise School District see through the false arguments being made against the non-incumbent candidates. Just like I know the voters know that parents being involved in the education of their children doesn’t make them a radical, it makes them a parent. I’m not sure at what point a parent wanting to be involved in their children’s education started making them “radical” as described by Trustee Oppenheimer, but if that is the case, then yes, I am radically in support for my children receiving the best education that can be provided and I will work for a better education for all our children.

So that it’s clear, I haven’t requested, nor have I accepted, ANY endorsement from any group. When you go to the polls on September 6th, regardless of who you vote for, please base your decision on facts, not on rhetoric.

Need more info or have questions?  Feel free to e-mail me: [email protected]


Neil (Gnome) Mercer

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