De’Andre Barnes, running for Portsmouth School Board
1. Why are you running for office?
I am running for office because I feel that I am in a situation to make a difference in children’s lives. Not only am I in a situation to make a difference but I have the opportunity to show children that grow up the way I did, that there is hope for a child growing up in public housing. Most importantly, I believe with my education, experiences in the policy making process, background with children, that I have something to offer to the children of Portsmouth. I’m not running for office because I want to win, I’m running for office because I want to make it a difference. Those are two separate things, and the latter is while I’m running.
2. Why should people vote for you?
The citizens of Portsmouth should vote for me for Portsmouth School Board because I went to Portsmouth Public Schools. From there, I went on to attend Virginia State University where I earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. Right after, I made a stop at Norfolk State University where I received my Masters in Urban Affairs. That path took me to a job in which I worked for Congressman Bobby Scott for 5 years, gaining knowledge that prepared me for this position of this magnitude. In the mix of all that I had children, who currently attend Portsmouth Public Schools. While working for Congressman Bobby Scott, I saw a need for the children in Portsmouth. I am an innovator and I implement. So I founded an organization that in the last year has serviced over 600 children directly through five different programs. Programs that have not only improved children athletic skills, but most importantly their grades, behavior and the Portsmouth Public School System. Through these programs, I have developed partnerships which shows my ability to work with others for the greater good of the children. I feel that I am the most experienced. Not only am I experienced, but I am invested in our school system, and most importantly because I owe it to the children to make sure they have the best opportunity to succeed. Just like I was given.
3. What’s your favorite thing about the area you want to represent?
I am glad to see the increase in the use of technology and collaborations with local colleges & universities and our school system.
4. What is the biggest problem your area is facing; how will you fix it?
I believe that our students are under-prepared for college & life beyond high school. I would fix it by incorporating college/post-secondary readiness programs. Programs that include the expansion of STEM, entrepreneurship, trades, etc. Project-based learning, taking students out of the classroom and increase learning through unconventional learning environments.
5. Describe Donald Trump in max 3 words?
Divisive, Egotistical, and Unprepared
6. Describe Hillary Clinton in max 3 words?
Intelligent, Experienced, and Determined
7. What do you do for a living? Why do you do it?
I currently run a non-profit organization for the youth. We provide basketball, cheer-leading, football, mentoring, and track to over 600 children yearly in the city of Portsmouth.
8. You’re going to be marooned on a tropical island for a week, you can only bring 1 thing – what is it?
If I was marooned on a tropical island for a week, I would bring swimming trunks. I do not know how to swim, so since I’m marooned here, I figure this would be the best time to learn how to swim.
9. What do you think of Colin Kaepernick?
I applaud Colin Kaepernick for using his platform to bringing awareness to a problem that exist in American. He feels that he can make a difference by kneeling and opening people eyes to a problem that very few will even have a conversation about. It takes a strong person to risk their career, finances, and life. Martin Luther King, Jr said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” I just think it’s important that we understand the purpose of his protest is not to be anti-military but to bring awareness to an issue that if address, could make America greater than it already is.
10. Would you vote to fund light rail expansion in your area?
Yes, it’s always good to have different forms of transportation to get around. On an environmental standpoint, it doesn’t hurt that we would be using less pollution.
11. Will you respect the outcome of the election?
Yes, I will respect the outcome of the election. The voters will choose who they feel is best to represent our children. If I am not who is picked, I will continue to make sure I try my best to help our children/school system in other ways.
12. Favorite TV Show?
My favorite TV show is Blackish.