Jason E. Downey, Vice-President of the Bibb County Board of Education, issued a press release today stating that he will be ending his re-election campaign by withdrawing from the July 26, 2016 runoff. Challenger Bob Easter forced the runoff by garnering 48.62% of the vote in the May 24 election to Downey’s 39.51%. Valerie Wynn came in third with 11.87% of the vote.
The press release:
After a great deal of prayerful consideration, and for professional reasons related to opportunities recently presented to me, I have decided that I will withdraw from seeking re-election to the Bibb County Board of Education Seat for District 6. I plan to file an Affidavit of Intent to withdraw from seeking office in the runoff election on July 26th, 2016, and request that the Board of Elections remove my name from the ballot.
This community needs to continue to move forward and work together on improving our public education system. I’ve been a tireless advocate for our school system over the past 3 and a half years, and I want nothing more than to see our school system have a great deal of positive energy for the future. To that end, I do not believe a nasty and antagonistic runoff for the District 6 seat, and the amount of resources from the community allocated toward the campaign and election, is a wise endeavor for our school system. A great deal of money has already been spent in this race, and the runoff would tip the spending scales to over $100,000.00.
I believe it is in our system’s best interest that we move forward and tackle the issues facing our schools today, like continuing to improve our graduation rates, continuing to prepare our children to be our future workforce, and continuing to be good stewards of the taxpayer’s funds.
I contacted both of my opponents and told them I appreciated their willingness to serve, and to get involved in the community. They brought much to the table to encourage dialogue in District 6. And so I call on supporters of my opponents as well as my own supporters to come together. For far too long, this community has been divided over how to move forward with our education in Bibb County. Our divisiveness is a result of past failed leadership, and grudges, that we must work through and past. Understand that I am not quitting this community. But rather than subject Macon-Bibb County through further division, I am showing my true love for our community and public education by withdrawing and moving us forward.
I want to thank the many people who are a part of what we call Team Downey. Your devotion to making education better in Bibb County is heartwarming, and the fact that you entrusted me with that task is very humbling and special. I will never forget those who stood by me throughout this election, and I know exactly who you are. I call on both my supporters and my opponents’ supporters to show your encouragement and assistance toward our current, and future board of education, and work with them to do everything within your power to make Bibb County Schools better. It is time for our system to move forward once and for all, and turn beyond the mistakes of the past. We must stop advancing half-truths and lies that are self-serving. We are servant leaders.
Our Board has not failed- we have in fact accomplished more in the past three and a half years than anyone could ever imagined. The success that our next Board of Education has will be in part due to the groundwork we laid down over the past 3 and a half years- improving graduation rates by 36%, bringing Dr. Steve Smith and Dr. Curtis Jones in as strong leaders to restore strong leadership, approving charter schools, working to place charter schools on the e-Splost ballot, passing an e-Splost with over 75% of the vote, ending Dallemand-style cronyism, winning statewide awards for our board, and improving our school system drastically. I will take great joy in our successes, and will watch with great interest as the system continues to move forward.
It has been an honor and a pleasure to serve this community, and I especially want to thank the strong leadership and friendship of Dr. Curtis Jones. With his leadership, our system will continue to soar.
Moving forward, I plan to focus on a variety of opportunities that have been presented to me professionally. I remain willing to serve this community in whatever way it sees fit, and I will continue to advance the initiatives and actions that I feel strongly about during the remaining months of my term.
I wish everyone a safe Memorial Day Weekend with family and friends.
And now, I shall enjoy my summer, without the added stress of campaigning. Thank you all for your time. God Bless Bibb County Schools, and God Bless the United States of America.