The new Progress PAC political action committee has endorsed three candidates each for Oak Ridge City Council and Oak Ridge Board of Education.
The three candidates endorsed in the City Council race are Kelly Callison, Warren Gooch, and Ellen Smith. The three endorsed in the School Board race are Bob Eby, Paige Marshall, and Laura McLean.
“PAC board members feel these candidates best support exceptional schools and jobs in Oak Ridge via teamwork between the Board of Education and City Council,” a press release said.
David Bradshaw, Progress PAC treasurer, said that the committee decided not to contribute funds to the election campaign of any candidate. Instead, the committee’s support will be in the form of independent expenditures that are not in collaboration with any candidate.
In fact, Progress PAC Chairman Steve Whitson said, the committee has not even shared its decisions with the candidates themselves, the press release said.
“They will find out about our support at the same time the voters do—when they read about it in local media,” Whitson said.
Whitson said that the committee only considered support for candidates who submitted written answers to questionnaires and later participated in interview discussions with PAC members.
“Not every candidate decided to participate in that process,” Whitson said, “and our committee certainly respects their decisions.”
He added that some candidates who elected not to participate have posted their answers in blogs or in social media.
“We’re very grateful for that,” Whitson said. “If it leads to a broader exchange of ideas and opinions, if it helps to define the issues in these important elections, then we believe that Oak Ridge citizens will benefit.”
More information will be added as it becomes available.