Mother Before Politician - Independent Women's Network
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Mother Before Politician

Over the past month, I’ve been the target of orchestrated character assassination campaigns,
alternatively called “MAGA,” a “Marxist” and a “Democratic operative.” None of those are true,
but I must say, as an Independent, I’m proud of the wide expanse of these smears.

In the fall of 2020, as the mother of three boys in K-12 education, I knew that we had a problem
with governance of our public schools. A new report by the U.S. Department of Education
confirms my mother’s intuition. More children than ever before read below grade level. Never
having run for political office before, I dipped my toes into politics this summer, quietly
announcing my candidacy for the Fairfax County, Va., school board.

My simple message of promoting education, not indoctrination and politics, in Fairfax County
Public Schools so bothered my extreme adversaries on the far-right, they partnered with unusual
allies on extreme left of the political spectrum to villainize me. At a meeting of the local GOP,
one far-right adversary waved a copy of a book I had written, advocating compassion for
children navigating issues of possibly being transgender. I was too “far left” for her and her few

To be sure, I messed up on another front. I inappropriately laughed at a singing of the National
Anthem that caught me off guard while I was livestreaming something other parents and I call
the “Shadow Board,” analyzing in real-time our school board meetings. I didn’t know anything
about the singer but was jolted toward the end of the meeting with the singing. Turns out, our
video producer accidentally played an old meeting at the end of our meeting. A local far-right
adversary waged a campaign against me as “laughing at an autistic student.” I didn’t know
anything about the singer.

Even after I apologized in an initial segment, local journalist Nick Minock published several
more pieces on the mistake. In one, a Virginia legislator, Louise Lucas, criticized me and another
parent as “MAGA” types. My local adversary made it her campaign to repeatedly shame me on Twitter, where I don’t have an account.

This has been a distraction from my most important job – being a mother. I filed a statement of
organization with the intent to run for school board because I wanted to be part of a team that
fights for in-person education and against compelled speech and boys in girls’ bathrooms, locker rooms and sports. In the war on parental rights, I believe that parents have not just a voice – but the most important voice – in their children’s health and education. Being the target of constant political and personal attacks comes at too high of a price. It significantly distracted me from my family – my raison d’etre.

For that reason, this week, I formally withdrew my candidacy, but I will remain part of the
bipartisan fight to improve education. To me, it was never about my candidacy, only the cause
and the team. Though the Fairfax County Republican Committee has not endorsed any
candidates yet, I believe it is the party standing for educating our children in Fairfax County. The
Democratic Party notably endorsed all of the 12 current school board members (some without children) – all responsible for closing our schools for a year-and-a-half, as well as all of the
academic decline and psychological issues that resulted in children from the irresponsible

We do not need to be political candidates to fight against indoctrination and for education.

Stephanie Lundquist-Arora is a concerned parent and author, living in Fairfax County, Va., and
a member of the Independent Women’s Network.

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