Jeremy Nielson defends attacks on his character in letter to the editor

Dear Editor:

I had no idea that I was such a divisive figure in the community.

I’m a 33 year old father and husband. I work as a Network Engineer; come home; play with my son and eat dinner. I pay my taxes and watch school board meetings. Along the way, I decided to have more than a 3-minute, one-way conversation with the school board and decided to run for a spot on the Rochester school board.

The future of the Rochester Community Schools is of vital interest to me because my son is currently in one of our excellent preschool programs. My wife and I moved here, in part, because of the excellent reputation of our school district. I want that tradition of excellence to continue into the future, but I do not believe that the current policies of the school board are sufficiently addressing the needs of our students.

This is why I was surprised to find that a vocal minority who dislike our State Representative, Tom McMillin, are attempting to draw my candidacy for school board into their discussion over legislation and policy that I didn’t know existed until I read this “letter to the editor” posted on November 4th.

I’m flattered, but I really have no involvement in what happens at the state government level. I’m simply running for the Rochester school board because I believe that we must do a better job of educating our kids.

I encourage you to take up these policy and legislative discussions with our representatives in Lansing: Rep. McMillin or Senator Marleau.

As for me, I’m against all forms of discrimination and bullying.

I’m proud to be endorsed by Rep. Tom McMillin. I believe Representative McMillin has served our community well, and nearly 70% of the community agreed when they re-elected him last November. For anyone to suggest that an endorsement means that I’m in favor of discrimination stretches any reasonable credibility.

We have plenty of pertinent, school-related issues we should discuss and find solutions for. We only get one shot to educate our kids – and I do NOT believe we can effectively do that when our school board is spending more money next year, but telling us they may have to layoff Media Specialists and close school libraries.

I hope to earn your vote, and I welcome your thoughts.
– Jeremy Nielson

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  1. Hi Jeremy,

    I am a mother of 3 children who attend RCS. My oldest son is gay. 5039 is clearly a bill that would strip cities of their right to have human rights ordinances that protect gay citizens from discrimination. Mr. Maurer reached out to me and I will be working with him to get the Rochester Hills City council to develop local human rights ordinances (like Lansing, Grand Rapids, etc.). As a parent of a gay student, I would like to know if you oppose Mr. McMillin’s Bill 5039 even though he endorses your campaign.


  2. Jeremy… I’m curious…

    Have you seen any other candidate answer any questions about this, or are you being singled-out? Of course, the other school candidates were not supported by Representative McMillin. But they should have an opinion, just like you, right?

    I’m also curious of any of the city council candidates were polled on this issue, given that it is apparently a city council issue?

    Just wondering if you’ve heard anything….

  3. Karen –

    To reiterate what was state above, I’m against all forms of discrimination and bullying. I’m also proud of my endorsement from Rep. McMillin – he’s represented our district well.

    As you can imagine, I’ve been focused on a school board campaign for months now – digging into the issues of our district’s spending, our student achievement data, attending meetings, knocking on doors, calling voters, preparing for a “debate”, and the ancillary business, rules, and paperwork of campaigning. I’m deeply entrenched in this effort and winning the hearts and minds of voters because we all believe we can do better for our kids: their futures depend on it.

    Considering that I’m not engaged in the minutiae of the State Legislature, please forgive the fact that I don’t have the time at the moment to go through every bill introduced in the State House or Senate since I began campaigning for our local school board. Surely you’d agree that it’s imprudent to have an opinion without fully understanding the different viewpoints in addition to the basic language of the bill.

    With 83 counties, 550 school districts, and 1775 cities/townships/villages in Michigan, I can understand the perspective to consolidate a “patchwork” of different, varied, inconsistent laws to something that would protect everyone equally, everywhere. Our school district sits inside six different cities. Would a law in Rochester Hills affect the schools there? And what about folks who work or learn at the schools in Oakland Township, where a more permissive law might be in effect? I don’t know how effective that would be.

    I appreciate that this bill is important to you, and I welcome your views on why this bill should not be enacted. I’d also be glad to follow up with our representatives – Senator Jim Marleau and Representative Tom McMillin – to share your thoughts with them.

    Best regards,
    Jeremy Nielson

  4. Mr. Nielson,
    So let me get this straight.You do not support bullying or discrimination, but you do believe that McMillin has served our community well and you appreciate his endorsement…hmmmm. My belief is that McMillin won due to the R next to his name and that there is NO way he will win again. I for one would never accept an endorsement from someone that had values or an agenda I did not go along with. Really, you are running for school board, why do you need an endorsement from someone out of Lansing? Mayor Barnett did not send a flyer out with McMillins picture on it. Mr. Reno, I am not asking you thses questions, just to be clear.

  5. No worries… I wasn’t going to answer… there were no questions there. At least none that weren’t rhetorical.

    All statements, really.

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