Co-authorized by Allison Duquette and Nicholas Smith

It’s been over a month since Town Meeting Day, we want to thank everyone who came out to vote, especially those of you involved in our campaign. The 2023 School Board races received around 2,000 ballots cast this year, compared to 1,850 in 2022. Nearly all the additional 150 votes were cast in favor of the candidates promoting a return to focus on academics. It’s clear that many voters resonated with our values and the work we put in was worth it, if only to inform people.

What people may not be aware of is how contentious and downright nasty this campaign got. We expected people to disagree with our perspectives and tactics, heck we disagree with the current School Board on a variety of topics, and we make that known quite often. However, not once during this race did we call out another candidate, or citizen for that matter, and malign them without understanding their full position. The same good faith approaches were not afforded to us, and the citizens of Milton have the right to know about the hypocrites that live among them.

The same people that preach diversity, inclusion, and belonging in Milton are the ones that hurled the most slanderous and vicious attacks. People like Lisa Rees (chair of the Milton Democratic Party), Lauren Blume (your new Library Trustee), Lonnie Poland & Dillon Welch (signatories of the “Avid Supporters of the MTSD Equity Policy” letter sent to Milton residents), along with a few others, took to social media and other forums to attack us. Too bad they didn’t reach out to us personally – our emails were available from our initial candidacy announcements – we could have dispelled all of the conspiracies that they pushed from the start.

They attacked us as being funded by out of state organizations. If only they had someone that understood how campaign finance worked and the required reporting… someone like a Democratic Party chair. FYI you can search our reports on donations and expenditures here (Vermont Campaign Finance) for yourself.

Many have asked why we didn’t just respond to these people on their social media posts. We did, or at least we tried to. We were quickly shut down by Front Porch Form (FPF), an organization that has received federal funding and calls itself “essential civic infrastructure.” We were told that we violated their terms of use regarding content “that harasses, degrades, intimidates or is hateful toward an individual” or “post misinformation meant to incite fear, hate, prejudice… or content that misleads people about elections or other civic processes.” You can see for yourself if you think these posts did any of those things. Too bad our opposition wasn’t held to the same standards. Instead, they called us cowards, liars, alt-right, accused us of bullying trans children, and said we wanted to bring politics into the classroom. Obviously they never read our candidate letters or attended any of the School Board meetings where we spoke.

It took the threat of lawsuit to finally get Front Porch Forum to allow us to post. We called for civility and asked people to reach out to us directly if they had questions, since FPF was not allowing us to communicate openly. FPF was quiet after that, no more posts attacking us, but still no emails from our biggest critics. Until February 18th when Rees finally decided to contact us. We are providing the full transcript of our email so that the community can see her disregard for the truth and how little she cares about unifying this community.

Rees contacted us on 2/18 asking about our propaganda (many of you will know this as election flyers, door hangers, and lawn signs) and claimed we wanted to harm our children by instilling good academic values and School Board transparency. Nick responded to Lisa on 2/19 answering all of her questions. That didn’t stop her from continuing her lies. On 2/20, one day after Nick’s response and two days after her initial question, Rees and others sent out a letter attacking us. The letter was sent to registered Milton voters and supported Jeremy and Melinda for the school board seats. The letter goes on to state that when Lisa reached out to us there was no response, questioning our transparency, and that we both held “toxic views.” She stated that VPACT was a non-profit organization that was not registered with the state. VPACT is not a non-profit organization, nor has it received any funding or donations. VPACT is nothing more than a local group of parents that actually care about their children’s education year-round, unlike the same people that come out of the woodwork during each election season and are politically motivated.

It’s unfortunate that the Milton Artist Guild, a non-profit which will receive $2,500 from the Town of Milton in FY24 (see page 4) and was receiving $800 annually prior to FY24, was utilized as a headquarters for this political hit job. Milton taxpayers shouldn’t be funding a politically motivated organization. If you agree, please consider submitting a comment to the Milton Selectboard on ceasing their funding.

A week and half before the election Yellow Jacket TV, a high school media class overseen by Peter Wyndorf, put out an episode about the upcoming election. In this episode, they talked about the school board election and VPACT. They claimed to have reached out to us for comment, and that we did not respond. Neither of us received an email to our publicly available email addresses, nor a phone call to our publicly available phone numbers. It’s unfortunate that our teachers are not instilling better journalistic values in our students and that they are being used to advance political agendas. I wonder how these same people might act if the situation was reversed, would they consider this election misinformation?

The day after the video was released, a message was shared with Allison from a group of students that included a threat toward her. Rather than go directly to the authorities or the school, there was an attempt to contact the parents. There was little interest by the parents in taking this seriously, which is especially disheartening since one of the parties involved is a teacher at Milton High School. 

Election day came and was generally pleasant. As is custom, many candidates from both sides spent the day (or part of the day) outside the Town office greeting and thanking voters. The day came and went without much to report on, until around 6:30 just half an hour before the polls close. A man pulled up in a Danforth pickup truck, was greeted by all of the candidates and went in to vote, nothing abnormal. On his way out, he was thanked for his civic duty and told to have a nice evening. His response was to look directly at us (Nick, Allison, and a couple of other supporters) and exclaim “I hope that I never see any of you again in this Town.” 

After the election both of us, and VPACT, received several campaign finance complaints. These complaints were filed by Lonnie Poland, a woman who worked tirelessly at bashing us on Facebook, Dillon Welch, who spewed conspiracies about us and VPACT being nationally funded on FPF, and Lauren Blume who is a Milton Town Library Trustee. All of which signed the Lisa Rees letter previously mentioned. The complaints were petty and designed specifically to silence us and make our lives difficult. Unfortunately for these people, the complaints were dismissed by the Attorney General after a routine review of the facts. 

We wanted to provide this information sooner, however we needed to wait for closure of this bogus investigation. The citizens of Milton deserve to know how these people behave and what they believe. They don’t believe in inclusion, belonging, acceptance, or love if you disagree with them. They don’t believe in diversity of thought or tact, just diversity of appearance. They don’t care about children, just their indoctrination message. 

So, the next time you see Lisa Rees asking others to unify and to tone down the rhetoric, remember the way she treated us and in turn her neighbors that share our same values. The next time you go to a school board meeting, take a quick survey of the crowd to see who is there week-after-week listening, digesting, and providing feedback for the benefit of our students, because it’s not Lisa Rees or these other people.


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