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  • Writer's pictureTodd McKinley

Campaign Fundraiser Speech

April 20, 2024


Memorandum For: The Residents of Sullivan County School Board District-5

SUBJECT: Campaign Fundraiser Speech


Before I begin my remarks, I would like to ask all current and former Educators and Administrators to rise. Without people who cared like you, I would not be standing here today.

In my campaign pledge that I signed and published on February 5th, the very first topic I addressed is the U.S. & Tennessee Constitutions, wherein I point out the fact that I’ve sworn an oath to “support and defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic” on many occasions, which to me hasn’t expired since the first time I took the oath my senior year of high school when on April 27th, 1996, an 18-year-old me joined the Army’s Delayed Entry Program at the Knoxville Military Entry Processing Station. When I’m sworn in to represent the residents of the 5th BOE District, it will be a reaffirmation of that oath. (Ask all Veterans to stand.)


That said, and not to mention the organization because I don’t want to mix partisan politics with the organization I’m referring to where I’m running a simultaneous campaign to become the Senior Vice Commander or number 2 in the state of an important Veterans Service Organization. However, I want to borrow the 5th line of that organization's Constitution’s preamble, which reads, “To inculcate a sense of individual obligation to the community, state, and nation.” Now think about that for a moment, individual obligation to the community, state, and nation. What does that mean to you? I know what it means to me, and I want to tell you how I think it applies to this office and one’s civic duty.


For those of you who pay attention, it’s easy to see that our nation is failing, our states are at odds with the federal government and one another and it’s due in large part to our local communities. In other words, you can’t have a strong house or building without a strong foundation, and our local communities are that foundation, our states are all the internal supports, and the nation is the roof, the walls, and supposed to be the security system as well. Each must play a role, but the states and nation are nothing without a strong foundation which again is our local communities, and building strong communities begins by having a well-educated public. Educated on the many facets of citizenship we can only have that by providing a well-rounded education that includes math, science, history, civics, and vocational classes, but doesn’t include woke nonsense or partisan biases. It also includes the arts and extracurricular activities that help students with the much-needed socialization process but doesn’t include indoctrinating individuals using a flawed, destructive, and evil ideology that perverts’ facts and reality. A boy is a boy, and a girl is a girl and that’s just a basic fact, and to quote Joe Friday from Dragnet “Just the Facts.”

Not to belabor the point, a few things I can promise you, chief among these is the fact I’ll be a bulwark against bad ideas. To do this, I will be accessible, which means I’ll arrive early and stay late at every BOE meeting if anyone wishes to meet with me. I’ll also attend as many county commission meetings as I can, I’ll host monthly social media town halls, quarterly in-person meetings within the district, weekly blog updates that provide important information on my website, I’ll answer emails daily and meet with parents when and where appropriate. However, I’ll not in any way interrupt the work of our administrators or Teachers, but I will have an open-door policy where anything that’s brought to my attention will remain 100% confidential to protect anyone who feels the need to inform me of anything because I truly believe in protecting whistleblowers.


When it comes to the BOE budget, I will be a no-vote on all wasteful spending. I’ll also push for eliminating spending that has no true direct benefit for the Students and Teachers. Also, I’ll work to ensure the public has ample time, at least 30 days before any major action is taken, especially when it comes to spending millions of taxpayer dollars. And when it comes to the main purpose of the school system, which is to educate, I’ll work to ensure those who graduate have a well-rounded education, one that will equip them for the world that awaits them. As I say, an educated public is an employable public. That’s why every Teacher should have the pay & benefits, as well as the tools and funding they need to educate our nation's future. Remember, industry only moves into areas with an educated population. With a young, educated population, as evidenced across the country, local populations, from the young to the old, alike benefit when this happens. More jobs mean more money in each area, which means more spending, which benefits local businesses and local governments through taxes, thus reducing the burdens on everyone, especially the working class as well as the elderly and aging.

As far as the pay I’ll receive, I plan to increase the amount of my current scholarship offered to one West Ridge Senior, plus I’ll add at least an additional scholarship. With regards to the safety and security of the students, and every employee of the BOE, this will be a major focus of mine. While serving more than 20 years in the Army and having served in some of the most dangerous places on earth, including combat tours in Afghanistan & Iraq, as well as having served closely with Local, State, and Federal Law Enforcement, especially the United States Secret Service and the State Departments Diplomatic Security Service and dozens of Regional Security Offices at various U.S. Embassy’s the world over, I fully understand personal and physical security and have assisted in the security of three (3) U.S. Presidents & Vice Presidents, and other world leaders. I’ll ensure that the proper resources are made available to ensure the safety of everyone at every school.

My final two points are simple, term limits, I pledge to serve no more than two (2), four (4)-year terms, and finally transparency, I will be honest in all I say and do and will keep the public apprised of everything I do when it comes to my duties as a BOE member.


President John F. Kennedy said in a speech he gave on April 27th, 1961, a speech that he titled “The President and The Press,” in it he said, “The very word “secrecy” is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths, and to secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it.” And let me say, I’ve held our nation’s highest security clearance, a Top Secret Secure Compartmented Information clearance with Yankee White Presidential level access, and I can say that there’s no room or need for secrets when it comes to the BOE and its proceedings.


Thank you and God bless! 

Todd A. McKinley, BA, MSL


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