Thursday, June 21, 2018
Politics

Hillsborough School Board's Kurdell defeats conservative activist Kemple

TAMPA — Hillsborough County School Board member Carol Kurdell beat back a challenge Tuesday from a candidate who wanted to keep a Muslim advocacy group out of the classrooms.

Terry Kemple, a conservative Christian activist, said he stood for much more. He called for accountability from administrators. He wanted more rights for parents.

But in the end, people remembered his campaign against the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which he accused of terrorist ties — at board meeting after board meeting.

"Mr. Kemple took that issue on and he did that for nine or 10 months," said Kurdell, who won nearly 57 percent of the vote. "You were either in one camp or the other."

Kemple didn't disagree. "There's no question in my mind, with the way the media coverage was, that a lot of people had that perception," he said.

But, he said, while anti-CAIR sentiment delivered some of his votes, "a lot of other people voted for me because of what I stand for."

To his detractors, including CAIR executive director Hassan Shibly, Kemple stood for intolerance.

Shibly said the controversy motivated some Muslims to vote for the first time. "I want to thank Kemple for making that possible," he said.

This was the second School Board race for Kemple, 66, who over the years has rallied against same-sex marriage and in favor of closing school on Good Friday.

It was the sixth straight win for Kurdell, 67. She emerged from a crowded primary field and ran on her record and experience.

Superintendent MaryEllen Elia said she could have worked with either candidate. Kurdell, she predicted, "will continue to be a strong advocate for students, teachers and employees in this school district."

Kurdell said she looks forward to helping guide the district through a challenging time.

Board and community members are asking hard questions about exceptional student education, in light of a recent student drowning at a middle school and a lawsuit stemming from another child's death in January.

Kemple, meanwhile, said he will talk with his wife and supporters, pray, and contemplate his next move. "I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing and I'm not going to stop," he said. "I've been at this for 17 years. I've won some battles and I've lost some battles. I've been given an assignment."

Marlene Sokol can be reached at (813) 226-3356 or [email protected]

Comments
Hotel renovator approved by council to restore New Port Richey’s Hacienda Hotel

Hotel renovator approved by council to restore New Port Richey’s Hacienda Hotel

NEW PORT RICHEY — A seasoned historic hotel renovator and operator is going to take a crack at getting New Port Richey’s city-owned Hacienda Hotel back into action. New Port Richey City Council members, acting as the Community Redevelopment Agency, u...
Published: 06/20/18
Pope Francis criticizes Trump’s family-separation policy on migrants, says ‘populism is not the solution’

Pope Francis criticizes Trump’s family-separation policy on migrants, says ‘populism is not the solution’

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis stepped into a growing controversy over President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, criticizing the separation of migrant families at the U.S.-Mexican border and saying that "populism" and "creating psychosis" are not t...
Published: 06/20/18
Raburn out in State House 57 race. Now who’s in?

Raburn out in State House 57 race. Now who’s in?

Well, that didn’t last long.U.S. Army veteran Michael Sean McCoy filed to run as the Republican candidate in the State House, District 57 race just hours after incumbent State Rep. Jake Raburn, R-Lithia, announced he was stepping down.McCoy, who live...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/20/18
Romano: A Tampa Bay ‘superstar’ caught in the crosshairs of Trump’s border policy

Romano: A Tampa Bay ‘superstar’ caught in the crosshairs of Trump’s border policy

At this moment, she is Tampa Bay’s most influential export. A smart, accomplished and powerful attorney making life-altering decisions on an international stage.But what of tomorrow? And the day after?When the story of President Donald Trump’s border...
Published: 06/19/18
‘Don’t leave me, Mom’: Detainee tells of separation from son

‘Don’t leave me, Mom’: Detainee tells of separation from son

SEATTLE — The call came at mealtime — an anonymous threat demanding $5,000 or her son’s life. So Blanca Orantes-Lopez, her 8-year-old boy and his father packed up and left the Pacific surfing town of Puerto La Libertad in El Salvador and headed for t...
Published: 06/19/18
Trump defiant as border crisis escalates, prepares to lobby House GOP on immigration bills

Trump defiant as border crisis escalates, prepares to lobby House GOP on immigration bills

WASHINGTON - As he prepared to visit Capitol Hill, President Donald Trump on Tuesday continued to insist that Congress produce comprehensive immigration legislation, while anxious Republicans explored a narrower fix to the administration policy of se...
Published: 06/19/18
Trump, GOP to huddle as outrage builds over border policy

Trump, GOP to huddle as outrage builds over border policy

WASHINGTON (AP) — Calls are mounting on Capitol Hill for the Trump administration to end the separation of families at the southern border ahead of a visit from President Donald Trump to discuss legislation.Trump’s meeting late Tuesday afternoon with...
Published: 06/19/18
Another detention center for immigrant children planned for Houston

Another detention center for immigrant children planned for Houston

Another facility intended for detaining undocumented children is reportedly in the works for Houston as the number of children separated from their parents at the border continues to swell.Southwest Key Programs, the same contractor that operates the...
Published: 06/19/18
Muralist working with huge St. Pete ‘canvas’ to create neighborhood eye-grabber

Muralist working with huge St. Pete ‘canvas’ to create neighborhood eye-grabber

ST. PETERSBURG — They appear to rise out of nowhere — two enormous, reclaimed-water tanks with an artist’s white clouds scudding across a blue background.A closer view reveals silhouettes of a lone coyote howling at the sky, mangrove islands, oak, cy...
Published: 06/19/18
FBI agent removed from Russia probe for anti-Trump texts says he’s willing to testify before Congress

FBI agent removed from Russia probe for anti-Trump texts says he’s willing to testify before Congress

The FBI agent who was removed from the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election for sending anti-Trump texts intends to testify before the House Judiciary Committee and any other congressional committee that asks, his attorney sai...
Published: 06/17/18