- Ashley Paz
"I'm Not Going to Sugar Coat It"
When I was first running for the School Board for FWISD I answered a question about not having an undergraduate degree something along the lines of this, "Look, I'm not going to sugar coat it. I don't have a bachelors degree or formal education. But that doesn't mean that I'm not educated. I have been an entrepreneur for over a decade and have invested in professional development and the hands on experience of running a business. I'm the only person on this stage who has ever had to make payroll or manage a team of people who depend on you for their livelihood and emotional support and career development. I might not have a piece of paper in a shiny frame, but I have the experience that really counts."
Mic drop, BOOM, round one goes to Ashley Paz! I'm also sure that my response wasn't nearly as confident as that, but my husband who was in the audience assures me that it was indeed that amazing.
That was maybe the best performance I've ever had in a public forum, and it gave me a great momentum going into the first week of early voting. That was until the flier came in the mail with a picture of me in my thick framed glasses and mouth open in an awkward half smile that made me look like I had more chins than any human should be able to bare with a huge headline in quotes, "I'M NOT GOING TO SUGAR COAT IT, I HAVE NO EDUCATION EXPERIENCE!" The mailer then went on to compare me to Sara Palin which was at the time the worst possible thing that anyone could say about me. It cut deep, and to top it all off there was a link to a video that had been heavily edited out of context that has me saying, "Look, I'm not going to sugar coat it. I don't have a bachelors degree or formal education." Cut, scene, that's a wrap. I was furious. But I still kicked that guys ass in the voting booth, and it felt good.
I won over 49% of the vote in a three way race, and then beat him again by only 23 votes in the runoff. I still haven't received a concession, but sometimes we have to just accept non-closure. I was sworn in on June 25, 2013 as the youngest person ever elected to the Fort Worth School Board at the ripe old age of 30. I was elated at this accomplishment, and was so bright eyed and ready to take on the world. I was going to rock this new role, and make change for my daughters and every other kid in Fort Worth.
Then the real politics started.
But that's not what this blog or this website is about. There's a lot of ugly truth in our world. Especially in the world of government. And I think we as a society generally accept certain truths as just the way things are. But that isn't how it has to be. This is not a political blog, but it will at times have commentary on politics because that is a very big part of my life. But this isn't going to be a place for you to come read how the sausage is made in FWISD or to gain an inside perspective of board politics.
My hope for this project (which is what I'm calling it for now because I know what my capacity has been in the past for maintaining a running blog) is to shine a little bit of light and hope during a time that feels almost impossible to navigate as a parent, business leader, elected official, and human. Like I said, I'm not going to sugar coat it, sometimes there will be ugly truths, and we're going to dive into that with my very first series of posts. But what you will get every time is my truth and honest take on what humanity is up against. And you're going to get it through the lens of a sometimes hot tempered red head with the blood of the Ozark Mountains and Arkansas River coursing through her veins.