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McFeely: Moorhead School Board faces infiltration from right-wing loons

The so-called KLN (Ken, Lisa, Nikki) candidates are extremists, cut from the mold of the five right-wing candidates who were soundly defeated in Fargo's school board election in June. Fargo voters got it right. Now it's up to Moorhead.

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Forum New Service columnist Mike McFeely
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MOORHEAD — Fellow Forum columnist Jim Shaw beat me to it, shining the light on a trio of dangerous candidates for the Moorhead School Board . Thank you, Jim. The more we know about extremists like Ken Lucier, Lisa Hahn and Nikki Pollock the better chance they are defeated.

But Jim's a Fargo guy, although we'd love him east of the Red River. I'm a Moorhead guy. Our daughter graduated from Moorhead High School a few years ago. I am a board member of the Moorhead Legacy Education Foundation, which provides support and opportunities for students, faculty, staff and facilities at our schools through scholarships, grants and other means.

So I have a few things to say.

The so-called KLN (Ken, Lisa, Nikki) candidates are extremists, cut from the mold of the five right-wing candidates who were soundly defeated in Fargo's school board election in June. Fargo voters got it right. Now it's up to Moorhead.

Moorhead's momentum with its public school system has been impressive in recent years. The high school is under renovation and when completed will be as impressive as any of the new high schools in the region like Alexandria, Minn., or Legacy in Bismarck.

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The Moorhead High School Career Academy along I-94 is a life-changer for students in our district, giving students who utilize it a head start on their post-high school lives and careers. It's also the new home to the district's Alternative Learning Center, a positive change for those students.

Moorhead has doubled the size of its middle school and built a new elementary school since 2015.

The city's population is growing, as are its class sizes. There are massive waves of students working their way through the elementary schools.

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The point: Moorhead's progressive thinking about its public education system — from administration, voters and school board — has allowed it to move forward and stay ahead of foreseen changes to the district.

Putting Lucier, Hahn or Pollock — and it's painful even to write this — or all three of them on the board would be a step back. To the 1920s. Or 1820s.

They are self-identified "Christian constitutional" candidates (whatever that's supposed to mean in the context of local school board elections) interested in phony culture war issues like non-existent critical race theory, so-called parental rights, bathrooms, prayer in public schools and book bans.

They are anti-LGBTQ and aligned with right-wing organizations that are, among other things, opposed to teaching sex education in schools.

Like the earlier race in Fargo , the KLN candidates are part of a nationwide focus on school boards meant not to improve the lives of students or teachers but to upend the status quo at any cost. It's a cultural, political attack on public schools by the Christian right wing.

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Hahn and her husband Edwin, you'll recall, led counterproductive protests at Moorhead School Board meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic under the guise of buzzwords like "freedom" and "liberty." Edwin was booted as chair of the Clay County Republican Party for being too disruptive.

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We love loons in Minnesota. But only on lakes, not on our school boards. Don't vote for Ken Lucier, Lisa Hahn or Nikki Pollock.

Opinion by Mike McFeely
Mike McFeely is a columnist for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. He began working for The Forum in the 1980s while he was a student studying journalism at Minnesota State University Moorhead. He's been with The Forum full time since 1990, minus a six-year hiatus when he hosted a local radio talk-show.
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