Live from Music Row Monday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed Williamson County School Board candidate for District 4, Elliott Franklin, in-studio to talk about his candidacy and the current incumbent.
Leahy: In-studio with us now is a candidate for the Williamson County School Board, Elliott Franklin. Good morning, Elliot.
Franklin: Good morning. Thank you for having me.
Leahy: So in which district are you going to be running for school board?
Franklin: Yes, I’m in District 4. You think Clovercroft Elementary School, Jordan Elementary, Trinity Elementary, Page Middle, Page High School, that area.
Leahy: That area. Okay, good. And tell us a little bit about yourself, Elliott. Where are you from? What do you do for a living?
Franklin: Born and raised in Texas. My wife Denise and I have six kids – three boys and three girls. We moved to Williamson County in early 2018.
For the past 20 years, I’ve been a cybersecurity expert, so an ethical hacker is what I do. And so my job brought me to Williamson County back in 2018 from Texas.
Leahy: From Texas?
Franklin: From Texas.
Leahy: And you have one kid in college.
Franklin: That’s right. My oldest daughter is in Columbia State, and my oldest son is at Page High School. And then our four youngest kids, we do a home-school, college prep tutorial. So we do a little bit of everything.
Leahy: And so you do that until like, middle school, late middle school, and then you give them the option of going to whatever school they want to after that?
Franklin: Yes, that’s right. We want to get into the ethics and morals and things that we don’t feel are the school’s job. We want to get that in early, help them determine right from wrong, and then we give them the option if they want to be in sports or different activities to get in school.
And my son at Page was all four years at Page, and it’s been a fantastic experience, great teachers, honors program. So he’s really excelled there.
Leahy: Great. So you lived most of your life in Texas?
Leahy: Been here for four years. What’s the difference between Texas and Tennessee?
Franklin: Well, you know, there’s a lot of similarities, which are very rural, friendly, mostly conservative areas. You actually have four full seasons here, which we like.
In Texas, it’s just really hot. But now in terms of the schools, obviously, when we moved here, like most people, we researched and chose Williamson County based on the schools. But a lot of similarities between Texas and Tennessee.
Leahy: A lot of longtime historical connections between Tennessee and Texas. Sam Houston, Davy Crockett. Without those two guys, the history of Texas would have been a little different.
Franklin: I think that’s right.
Leahy: Why did you decide to run for school board?
Franklin: It’s interesting. A lot of us, I say, parents, I think, have been a little asleep in terms of what’s going on in the schools.
And COVID certainly helped us open our eyes and become more involved. Back in August of last year, I certainly attended the big school board meeting that made national news there.
Leahy: The one that, what did President Biden say about you guys?
Franklin: He wasn’t too excited about us. And we had 2,000 or … there were a lot of people in line.
Leahy: This is about the mask issue.
Franklin: And it was all about the mask mandates.
Leahy: And the board put on a mask mandate.
Franklin: They did. And against the parents. Many parents were there and we just wanted to be able to make our own medical decisions for our children and so that was certainly one of the big issues.
Leahy: So the current status of masks in Williamson County schools is what?
Franklin: Yes. Masks are not required right now. They’re optional.
Leahy: They’re optional. Is there an incumbent in your district?
Franklin: There is an incumbent. So back in August, after that meeting, the incumbent, Brad Fiscus, resigned because of the controversy with his wife and being fired from her role in state government.
Leahy: They hit the road and they don’t live here anymore.
Franklin: They’re in D.C., that’s right. Then the process is for county commissioners to then appoint an interim person. So there are about 10 or 12 of us.
I threw my name at that point as well, and had about maybe an hour phone call with one of the commissioners for them to appoint. They appointed the current incumbent, who is Josh Brown.
Leahy: Josh Brown is the vice president at Pfizer. To me, that struck me as just a huge conflict of interest.
Franklin: It is. And we’ve made national news over that as well. It’s like, why would you want to put someone in that position?
Leahy: Did we ever get an answer as to that?
Leahy: It seems like a conflict, because they’re pushing vaccines.
Leahy: And that’s his job, is to talk to state legislators. We probably don’t have time to get Josh Brown in here, but we’ve invited him in before, and he’s not come in.
Listen to the interview:
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