UPDATE 10/26/2021: Following the publication of this article, Americans for Medical Freedom have removed their Facebook endorsement of Mike Swanson for Bentonville School Board Zone 7.
Local elections have always mattered. But this summer Arkansans saw how critical school board elections are. Back in August, #Arleg reconvened for a special session to address Act 1002; the law prohibited state entities from mandating masks, which included public schools. Thankfully a judge put a temporary injunction on Act 1002, allowing boards to decide their own mask policies.
Despite local boards determining what is best for schools, not everyone was happy. Local school board empowerment enraged right-winged extremists; consequently extremist, anti-mask organizations are now targeting school board races. Take, for example, Bentonville’s Zone 7 race set for November 2nd:
- Mike Swanson is challenging incumbent Joe Quinn
- Joe Quinn voted FOR mask requirements for Bentonville schools
- Americans for Medical Freedom endorsed Mike Swanson, an analyst with General Mills
- Americans for Medical Freedom organized anti-mask demonstrations at Bentonville School Board meetings, Walmart and Tyson; they caused chaos in Siloam Springs during the Governor’s listening tour
- Nathan Hughes of Rogers runs the group; Hughes participated in the January 6th riots where he was alongside insurrectionists assaulting Officer Michael Fanone.
“That initial period of time I was pulled off that line was kind of a blur. I just remember getting violently… I was trying to push guys off of me, create some space, all the while I recognized the fact that there were individuals that were trying to get ahold of my gun… And I heard people in the crowd yelling, ‘Get his gun. Kill him with his own gun,’“
Officer Michael Fanone
Nathan Hughes & AFMF
Let’s recap: Bentonville residents have the choice between Joe Quinn, an incumbent, and Mike Swanson, Americans for Medical Freedom’s candidate of choice. We know that AFMF is an extremist group at the heart of the anti-mask movement in NWA. Moreover we know that Nathan Hughes, a January 6th insurrectionist, is leading the group’s charge.
Extremist groups like AFMA are small but loud, especially in school board races. Bentonville residents should be aware such a group supports Mike Swanson; residents must take into account Swanson’s endorsement when voting. Hughes is a violent extremist who wants to elect someone he can sway. If Mike Swanson is elected, the safety of Bentonville’s public schoolers may be in jeopardy.
Bentonville Voting Info:
Benton County will hold early and election day voting for the Nov. 2 election for the Bentonville School Board.
Only voters in Zone 7 will have a board race on their ballot. Zone 3 has one unopposed candidate. All other ballots will contain only a question on the millage rate, which is not changing.