News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Picking school board stand-in no slam dunk

The Decatur school board has an interesting appointment to make when Dwight Jett Jr. gives up his seat temporarily to serve his country.

Mr. Jett says he wants his wife, Karen, to serve in his place while he is in Iraq with his National Guard unit.

The request for the board to give his wife the seat has a great deal of merit. After all, she most probably subscribes to his views on education more closely than someone else the board might pick.

He says she knows the district, the people and their concerns. She, too, might consult with him more often than another stand-in would.

But should the temporary appointee necessarily reflect Mr. Jett's views? Better still, do Mr. Jett's views any longer reflect the majority views of the people in his district even though he ran unopposed for re-election in 2004?

Mr. Jett earlier this month ran an unsuccessful race for the Republican nomination for county commissioner against incumbent Jeff Clark, even within his district. For instance, at West Decatur Elementary, Mr. Clark polled 39 votes to 24 for Mr. Jett. But that box is traditionally a Democratic stronghold and the outcome of the commission race may not accurately reflect the district.

Voters are fickle. They appreciate a dissenting voice but are slow to elect those persons to office. County Commissioner Stacy George learned that lesson in his lopsided loss to Sheriff Greg Bartlett earlier this month.

School board members might feel honor bound to appoint Karen Jett as a way to acknowledge her lieutenant colonel husband's military service. Too, Mrs. Jett just might be the ideal candidate.

The board should weigh these factors in making this important decision.

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