SPRINGFIELD — District 3 candidate Ron Graham said he is interested in serving on the Effingham County Board of Education because he has deep family roots here and has three children in the school system.
He believes the county has one of the best school systems around, saying, ”I would like to have a voice in the future to help continue moving forward with the excellence we have.”
Graham said he considered running four years ago but was very busy with his timber business. He has since cut back in order to spend more time with his children.
He said he feels he is qualified for the post because of his being from the county and having run a successful business for nearly two decades. He said he looks at the school board as running a business.
Graham said that Effingham County is going to continue to grow and that the primary reason is because of its schools. He said he has picked up a lot from being around school administrators and faculty over the years. He said Superintendent Dr. Randy Shearouse coached him in baseball when he was a freshman or sophomore.
About adding new school facilities, Graham said, “I know there’s more coming — I know that. There’s going to have to be.”
Having children in the school system, Graham acknowledged that not everyone needs to go to college in order to be a success in life. He said a lot of young people spend a lot on getting a college degree only to find that they can’t find a job.
“If you can learn a trade at a trade school, you can get a job and get good-paying jobs,” he said.
Graham said his youngest son wants to be a welder and spends time with his grandfather learning the trade.
The candidate repeated his belief that running a school system like running a business.
“We have a great school system and I’d like to have a voice,” he said.
Graham said he would like to be the kind of person with an open ear for faculty and for parents throughout the county, not just in District 3.
He has some concerns about voter turnout, especially in light of the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. He talked about the process of voting with an absentee ballot and wasn’t sure if enough people would even put a stamp on the application in order to get the absentee ballot.
“I have the desire to help the schools, the children in the schools and the faculty, the staff,” he said.