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As a three-year resident of this beloved community, I would like to share my thoughts on our current leadership. Over the last year, my eyes have been opened to a disturbing side of Victoria that I never saw.

I have always been under the impression that a mayor would seek to represent the best interest of all the citizens they represent. Unfortunately, my experience as a citizen of Victoria has shown me that not all elected officials abide by this creed.

Mayor Tom Funk has slowly and divisively torn our city apart. I have been privy to his antics through my many community roles. As an attendee at various school board meetings, parent sessions and conversations with administrators of Eastern Carver County Schools, I have seen Mayor Funk repeatedly invited to come to the table as a collaborator.

Unfortunately, rather than come to the table, Mayor Funk prefers to admire and inflate the problem by writing letters to the newspaper filled with falsehoods about how our schools are 'indoctrinating our children,' shaming 'white privilege' students and using his position as mayor to put out offensive videos. These political tactics seek to advance his political status at the expense of the unity of this community.

Mayor Funk uses a small group of supporters to help stoke the fires, most don't even live in our community, nor have students who actually attend schools in our district.

Mayor Funk never addresses or expands on the real definition of "equity" within our schools as it goes against his political agenda. Equality is everyone getting the same. Equity is about giving all students what they need to find success. My son is in a reading intervention program that gives him confidence to help further his educational journey, that is equity. The gifted and talented students being offered classes that challenge them beyond their peers, that is equity. Students with special needs getting support to succeed, that is equity. Equity is not about taking anything away from one to give to another. It is about supporting all learners within ECCS on their own educational journey. How is this a bad thing?

As you cast your vote in the impending election, I would encourage you to consider your vision for Victoria. What kind of city and community do you hope to live in? Is this really the leader you want running our city? Or worse yet, representing us in the senate?

It is time to hold our elected official accountable to come up with ideas and solutions to challenges. It is time to stand up to those who tear down and divide communities and schools with false narratives filled with words like "indoctrination" and "white Christian privilege."

The kinds of claims made by Tom Funk are an easy, cheap tactic used to evoke fear, which allows those too lazy to do the heavy lifting to remain in power.

On Aug. 11, I am choosing to back our schools, community members and all children in Victoria by voting for Julia Coleman.

Ashley Erickson

Victoria

Community Editor

Mark Olson, the Chaska and Chanhassen community editor who has worked in Carver County for 20 years, makes any excuse to write about local history. In his spare time, Mark enjoys perusing old books, watching blockbusters and taking Midwest road trips.

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