Marie, a fifth-semester economics and political science major at the University of Connecticut, is running for the Board of Education in his hometown. He will be among three political newcomers hoping to replace members of the board who opted not to run for re-election.
Marie is running for the Tolland Board of Education because he takes pride in the school system he graduated from and wants to see schools in his hometown continue to grow.
“I’m running for Board of Ed, not just because I have an interest in government, but also because I really like my town and I think we have a good school system,” Marie said. “I really am passionate about town and local government. I’d like to see things be run better.”
One of his central goals is to reduce what he sees as unnecessary spending as well as reallocate misappropriated funds. For example, Marie said, Tolland recently hired more administrators, despite a need for more math teachers at the high school. If elected, Marie vows to balance the budget and spend wisely at the benefit of the Tolland taxpayer.
Marie is opposed to state and federal funded mandates because he sees education as a very localized issue.
“When you have a situation where the Federal Department of Education or even the State Department of Education is saying, ‘You need to have this,’ it creates a problem because it’s putting a strain on a school system to provide a service that they might not necessarily need,” Marie said. “I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
Marie’s candidacy is not his first foray into political activism. He currently serves as a member of Tolland’s Water Pollution Control Advisory Board and is the vice president of the UConn College Republicans. Aside from being an alum of Tolland High School, he is a regular attendee of board meetings and has frequently talked to board members.
However, according to him, his biggest asset is that he knows the school system inside out.
“I think that that clear vision of how things work is a huge asset that many board members do not have,” Marie said.
Ultimately, Marie hopes that as a Tolland Board of Education member, he can hold school administrators accountable and give power back to Tolland’s teachers. And from a political perspective, he wants to collaborate with Tolland’s town council.
“[I want to] create an atmosphere of people who are willing to work with each other and solve a problem and not be combative, because that’s not going to accomplish anything,” Marie said.
Kazi Iqbal is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.