David Jones is taking a different approach with school board election campaign priorities — he doesn't have any.
"My understanding of what a school board member is, is they are a public servant and they are part of a team of public servants and actually one of the concerns I have is the idea of coming in with a personal agenda," he said. "A lot of the agendas I'm hearing are very about what's happening now, which are elements that we're not going to be able to vote on or affect in any way."
Jones, the founder of Creatures of the Night — which brought West Linn the Haunted Trail — is running for position 5 on the West Linn-Wilsonville School Board. He joins Kelly Sloop and Seiji Shiratori in the race for that spot.
"My two daughters have grown up within the West Linn-Wilsonville School District and they are now at an age where they're old enough that I can't volunteer in their classes anymore … and so this is the best way for me to be an involved parent and give back to the community," he said.
Jones said he's dipped his toes in politics and public services throughout his adulthood. While living in Chicago he was the executive board director of the Rogers Park Community Council, and a board member on the Morse Avenue Task Force.
Professionally, he's the artistic manager of Creatures of the Night, an organization that specializes in haunted experiences as fundraising community events. It brought West Linn the Haunted Trail and Sandy the Sandy Library Haunt. He describes the haunted exhibits as "low-blood, low-gore" and among the few customizable haunted attractions in the country.
Creatures of the Night volunteers are mostly students and their families, and Jones said the organization emphasizes volunteer education.
"We spent a lot of time making sure that students were tutored; we worked with them as mentors; we spent this last summer and fall driving to SAT classes or college tours," Jones said.
He said his role on the school board would be to listen to the community and make decisions with other board members as a team.
"As a school board, we're there to make sure the highly talented, dedicated education staff, who take very fierce pride in their job, have the support and resources they need for students to have the greatest opportunity possible," he said.
He said he conducted interviews with teachers, staff and students to get an idea of the issues they care about.
According to Jones, students want more sex education and an emphasis on developing critical thinking skills.
His campaign is completely self-funded. He said he's not accepting contributions from anyone. As for endorsements, he's only concerned with that of the students he's worked with.
"It's very easy for me to get endorsements from politicians and local businesses because I'm clever; I'm funny; I'm charming. That's easy, but those aren't the endorsements I wanted," he said.
Jones is excited about being in a stacked race.
"I'm very excited that so many people are running. The idea that so many people are impassioned and really are there for their community and their children, that fills my heart," he said.
Jones said if elected to the school board, he'd lend the community a listening ear.
"The reason they should maybe consider me — I really listen. I listen and I really do not compromise in making sure our children have the best options," he said.
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