Friday, July 29, 2011

VENITA PEYTON FILES TO RUN AGAINST KEITH SUTTON IN DISTRICT 4 WAKE SCHOOL BOARD RACE

           Editor's note - In June 2009, Venita Peyton applied to be appointed to the Wake School Board District 4 seat being vacated by Rosa Gill. The board was dominated by Democrats at the time. On her blog, Peyton then said, "I will bring my experience as a trained mediator, business owner and champion of all Wake County people."
             Peyton was not chosen. Keith Sutton, former president of the Triangle Urban League, was.
             On the Aug. 3rd "WakeEd blog" in the News & Observer, Peyton is reported as  saying, " she is still mulling whether to compete..."
            Today, on Aug. 5th, The News & Observer reports that Peyton indeed filed to run for District 4.
             Here's Peyton's official announcement.


            
           Two week ago, The Carolinian was the first to accurately report on Peyton's likely candidacy. Read that analysis again now.
                                
By Cash Michaels 
An analysis

            Though there have been rumors, thus far, only incumbent District 4 Wake School Board member Keith Sutton has filed to run to represent Southeast Raleigh in the October elections. Though the names of at least two community activists have been bandied about to challenge Sutton, an incumbent who was appointed by the board in 2009, thus far none have emerged. Doing so would be difficult, given the thousands in campaign funding that would have to be raised, and tremendous dedication in time and energy required just to run between now and October.
            Sutton, a black Democrat, has a strong headstart in organization and fundraising, plus the backing of the Wake County Democratic Party, even though the school board race is officially nonpartisan.
            But there is one intriguing possibility that political observers are watching, and her name is Venita Peyton.
            What’s so intriguing about Peyton? She’s a former Democrat turned black conservative Republican who has expressed undying support for the Republican-majority on the Wake School Board, and has bashed Wake’s previous socioeconomic diversity policy on her blog, “Outside the Box.”
            There’s no question that if the Wake County Republican Party, which is backing incumbent Ron Margiotta in District 8; Heather Losurdo in District 3 and Cynthia Matson in District 5, wanted to put an exclamation point on its mission to have a super-majority on the school board, then defeating the board’s only African-American with a black Republican would definitely do the trick.
            All Peyton, Southeast Raleigh’s most visible and vocal black Republican, would have to do is say the word, and file for office before August 12th, and the race is on. And unlike Sutton, who has never run for public office before despite working on many political campaigns in the past, Peyton is well experienced in asking folks to elect her.
            On several occasions, however, they never did.

            Peyton, a Virginia native, has unsuccessfully run for Raleigh mayor, Raleigh City Council, state House District 33, and Wake County commissioner since the late 1980’s. In the past, she has garnered the support of conservative groups like Called2Action, WakeCares and the NC Education Forum.
            The July 17 entry on her blog titled “Raleigh NC 2011: Where Political Parties Fail,” shows that Peyton is still very much interested in local politics. Based on her past experience of several unsuccessful campaigns, Peyton gives an insightful tutorial to would-be and wannabe candidates on what to consider before making the important, life-changing announcement.
            “We admonish people to vote without realizing that many don't vote because of the candidates,” she writes. “They view that no matter who wins, that their lives won't change. Sometimes the nonvoters have been right.”
            Why would Peyton fit right in with Chairman Margiotta and the GOP school board majority? For starters, she apparently can’t stand Rev. William Barber, president of the NCNAACP. Barber, because of his tough opposition to the GOP’s neighborhood schools policy and NAACP federal bias complaint against the Wake School Board, is consider public enemy #1 by the Republican majority.
            Peyton agrees.
            “It’s obvious now. NC NAACP Pres. William Barber is not concerned with the children in the Wake County Public School System,” Peyton wrote in a factually erroneous diatribe on her blog June 19.
            “He constantly proclaims problems with reassignment, yet has not offered any data to support his theory of re-segregation,” Peyton continued, ignoring the numerous reports warning about the prospect of more under-resourced high poverty schools under a neighborhood schools policy.
Peyton later added, “Is William Barber’s agenda about advancing minorities, the NCNAACP or just William Barber?”
Other blog entries that solidify Peyton’s conservative credential include, “What Liberals Won’t Say About Education”; “Baby/Voter ID in Raleigh (Peyton supports Voter ID)”; and “Tata Won’t be Whipping Boy in Raleigh NC,” where Peyton expressed her unbridled support for Wake Supt. Anthony Tata.
            Peyton’s occupation is listed as a real estate broker and owner of Greater Raleigh Real Estate Inc.. She is also the former chairwoman of the east Raleigh Citizens Advisory Council.
            Peyton has a BS in public administration from Shaw University, and a Master’s Degree in public administration from NC State University.
            Interestingly, as part of her 2008 bio when she ran for Wake County commissioner, Peyton said one way she would change government would be to “…seek legislation allowing county school boards to be appointed rather than elected,” though she didn’t specify what body or public official would do the appointing.
            She may not hold that same belief now, given that the Republicans currently have the majority on the Wake School Board.
NC Board of Elections records show her address in the Southeast Raleigh 27610 zip code. Observers say if Peyton runs at all, she might wait until the very last day, August 12, to file.
The Carolinian emailed Venita Peyton Tuesday via her blogsite requesting an interview. She had not responded by press time.
                                            -30-

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