Last week, SHIFT reported that Melanie Stambaugh, GOP candidate for state House, was asked to leave the premises of a high school where she was volunteering her time through her business. Stambaugh was there for the sole purpose of helping students enrolled in the AVID program. She was not campaigning, she did not tell students she was seeking elected office nor did she discuss politics—but that didn’t prevent the school’s union representative from asking Stambaugh to leave immediately. Apparently, the very fact that Stambaugh is seeking elected office disqualified her from volunteering at the high school.
Well, the same rule must not apply to Democrats—or so they must think. SHIFT recently learned that Mike Wilson—a Democrat seeking election to the state House in the 44th Legislative District—has actively used his position as a high school cross country coach to recruit volunteers for his campaign. Wilson, who is also a teacher at the high school where he coaches, and his coaching buddies at another high school asked students to canvass their neighborhoods during a practice last week.
Inevitably, the coaches’ request made some students and their parents uncomfortable which prompted a response by the schools’ principals. The principals sent a letter home to the students’ parents ensuring them that the incident would never happen again. “School staff may engage in political activities on their own time, using their own private resources, and not during school hours,” the principals wrote.
That statement brings us to the next set of allegations being made against Mike Wilson. A recent public records request revealed that Wilson is using his school classroom as, essentially, a campaign office.
An email sent from his school email account reveals Wilsons’ attempts to recruit members to his advisory board during school hours. Other emails prove that he used a school scanner to scan his F1 form (a personal financial affairs statement), then sent it to his personal computer. Wilson also used the school scanner to email himself a copy of an agreement with his campaign consultant (WinPower). All in all, Wilson’s emails prove that he corresponds with students, staff and his political consultant about his campaign—all using school resources, during school hours.
According to the Everett Herald, the superintendent of the Everett School District has launched an investigation looking into “whether cross country runners at two high schools were improperly enlisted by coaches to aid the campaign of a teacher running for state representative.” Wilson refuses to admit any wrong-doing. He insists that he “had no role in organizing the runners for campaign activity off school grounds and after school hours.” Further, Wilson denies “misusing school resources, though he acknowledged he might have inadvertently replied to one or two emails during the school day.”
Wilson is locked in a tight race with Republican Mark Harmsworth—a two term member of the Mill Creek City Council and Mayor Pro-Tem. Harmsworth won the August primary by nearly 4% of the vote.
You can check out the letter sent to parents and the emails mentioned below.
Principals’ letter home to parents: