Update: May 25, Barnes announced he will no longer take a school committee seat if he wins one June 14: https://admin.wiscassetnewspaper.com/article/barnes-urges-voters-pick-someone-else-school-committee/160806
Occupation: Wiscasset Police Officer
Education: Graduate of Grace Baptist Academy in 2004, Army 2004-07, Corrections 2008-13, EMT 2018, Police Academy in 2019
Political History (Board, committees, other): Wiscasset Shellfish Warden, Field Training Officer, Special Events Coordinator, and School Resource Officer after the June vote.
Considering the office you are running for, what do you feel are the three most pressing issues (350 words or less): First I believe parents have the right to an active say in their children’s education. Parents deserve to have a voice that is being heard. As an elected member it is our duty to ensure that happens. Not just listening to their concerns but also taking active steps to address them. A child’s education sets them up for success for the rest of their life. Ensuring they receive the best learning possible in an environment wanted and needed by them and their parents is paramount. Growing up I helped to run a city bus for my church. I know firsthand how having parent involvement can benefit children in their journey.
Secondly, budgeting is another huge issue we face. Ensuring that the funding is there for students and their needs. From classroom sizes, supplies, sports and activities to the best educators we can keep and recruit. At the same time we are accountable to the people we represent and are responsible to see their money is spent as it should be.
Thirdly but probably of most importance is students’ health and safety. Mental and physical health are both equally crucial to students’ success. They need to feel supported, heard and safe. While I was in EMT school I wrote my paper on Depression in Young People. The number of children feeling suicidal, depressed, anxious, scared and alone is staggering. After accidents, suicide is the next highest cause of death in Maine youth. I have seen this all too often in my police role. My passion has always been working with young people and serving the public. It is our job as school board members as well as members of society to do right by our children and address these issues. From in school support systems to systems that extend out into the community. I may not have the titles or the degrees others may hold but what I do have is genuine empathy for people. I know how to listen to and relate with people. If we can first win the students’ hearts we can then educate their minds.
Any other thoughts on why you are running or what you can bring to the office? (150 words or less): I have a lifetime of public service. Dealing with real people in real situations. From joining the Armed Forces at 17 to then working Corrections and learning business management at a paper mill. I know to be successful at anything, you need buy in from those around you and support from those you represent. I joined the Wiscasset Police in 2019. I still work and live here currently. As the next School Resource Officer and school board member it is my mission to show our young people there is still hope in the world. Mirroring the school board with the School Resource Officer allows me a unique opportunity of being the boots on the ground. I can bring things I see to the school board so that they can be improved. Having a school board member who also serves in the schools on a daily basis is invaluable. Thank you