In an effort to help you make informed decisions during the General Election, ABC Action News has reached out to dozens of candidates running for office. The following statements have been submitted to ABC Action News by the candidate. Every candidate was given the same set of questions. These are their responses in his/her own words.
Name: Mitch Thrower
Office: Hillsborough County School Board District 3
Certified Public Accountant, Certified Internal Auditor with experience auditing Florida School Boards with the Office of the Auditor General; Risk and Safety Manager; Bachelor of Science in Management from Tulane University, Master of Business Administration from Florida State University, Over 20 years serving on appointed public boards and committees in leadership roles (e.g. Treasurer Early Learning Coalition, Chairman Carrollwood Elementary School Advisory Committee, Chairman Hillsborough County Charter Review Board, etc.); attended Hillsborough County public schools (Miles, Orange Grove, Young, Buchanan and graduated from Chamberlain) and parent of three children who attended public schools with my youngest son in 8th grade at Walker Middle School.
Why should voters vote for you?
I am the BEST qualified candidate, especially with my strong financial, risk & safety, and professional leadership experience. The School Board needs a member who has financial expertise, leadership experience, and can work effectively with others especially during these uncertain times.
If elected, what are your top priorities?
- High Quality Education for ALL students
- Safe and Secure School Environment
- Accountability and Fiscal Management
What are three key messages of your campaign?
- Safeguard your tax dollars and get the School District back on track.
- Keep your kids safe
- Fight to protect classroom teachers.
What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?
One of the main reasons I am running for school board is that I am passionate about education and believe with my background I can help improve our schools. A few of the areas that I am particularly interested in concerning our schools are the amount of funding allocated to education and specific schools, the achievement gap among students, and student safety.
As it relates to the role you are seeking, how has that governmental body handled the Covid-19 pandemic? What would you do differently/the same in handling both the public health risk and the economic recovery?
I believe the Board should have had better communication with the public from the beginning. I supported the right for parents to have a choice between e-learning and brick and mortar during the Covid-19 pandemic. Additionally, more computer and technical training should have been provided to parents, teachers, and students. I also think the Board should have been more proactive and creative in planning for how to address issues related to Covid-19.
In the role you are seeking, what will you do to address issues of racism and inequality?
As a School Board member, I will stress the need for all educators to receive diversity and inclusion training. I will start a communication group open to parents, teachers, businesses, and community members that will meet regularly in different parts of the district. As a Board member, I will be available to the public and visit the schools. I will encourage the district to partner with public agencies and private companies to ensure that all children’s basic needs are being met. I will ensure that the district is addressing the achievement gap, the school to prison pipeline, and has established goals for improvement, which are being tracked.
What motivates you to run for public office?
I have always had a strong passion for education and want to give back to my community. My mother and grandmother were strong female educators who stressed the importance of education. But most of all, I am the parent of three children and want to improve our school system for future generations. I was raised in Hillsborough County School Board district 3. I went to school in District 3. I am raising my family in district 3 and now I want to serve my community by being the school board member for district 3.