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Raulston aims to look beyond recall effort

Diane Raulston said she has spent the past few days working with community groups like the VFW collecting backpacks for elementary school children in her Neabsco District.

It came as a surprise to the Prince William County School Board member when she learned of an effort to have residents hold a recall election to remove her from the Board. The website alleges that after six months in office, Raulston no longer meets with constituents, threatened teachers, and “pledged to fill a vacant board seat with a Republican instead of the qualified candidate endorsed by Democratic leadership.”

Raulston said man the behind the website is Nate Salzman, a Democratic party operative and the former campaign manager for Prince William County School Board Chairman Ryan Sawyers. She said she met with Salzman two and a half weeks ago to discuss who would temporarily replace Brentsville District School Board representative Gil Trenum, a naval commander who was dispatched to serve in Africa for the next year.

“He’s doing this because I said I would consider supporting one of the people whom Mr. Trenum said should take his place,” said Raulston, who is one of eight members on the county school board that, by Virginia law, is to be non-partisan.

Raulston said Salzman wanted her to support JerMonica-Boose Davis, one of the five candidates that had been vying to temporarily Trenum. She withdrew her name from consideration and did not return multiple requests from Potomac Local on the matter before her removing her name from consideration.

Raulston did not say who would pick to temporarily replace Trenum.

The mission of finding Trenum’s temporary replacement has polarized political parties on the right and left. Republicans last month held a press conference urging the School Board to move forward and approve one of two hand-picked names Trenum suggested.

Democrats asked for and got an unofficial opinion from the state’s Attorney General’s office that told them the School Board could choose whomever they wish to Trenum, and that the seat must be given back to the commander once he returns from his military deployment.

Salzman and Sawyers did not reply to request for comment for this story.

Prince William County Democratic Chairman Harry Wiggins also said Salzman is behind the Raulston recall effort, adding that Salzman attended a recent committee meeting last Friday. Wiggins said his committee has no affiliation with the recall effort, and that doesn’t support it. Prince William Democrats last fall endorsed Raulston for School Board.

“This is not the right thing to do,” said Wiggins. “Any recall election is going to have to go to the circuit court, and frankly, we’ve got bigger problems to solve right now in the school system.”

Salzman urged support of JerMonica Boose-Davis, one of the five people vying to fill Trenum’s seat, said, Raulston.

This move is yet another distraction from the business of empowering teachers and fostering the development of school children, said Raulston.

“We spent our first six months in office putting out fires all over the place,” she said, referring to the School Board’s surprised and contentious decision to rename Godwin Middle School, and multiple meetings with the county Board of Supervisors about the tax rate and school budget.”

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