Polk County elects Florida's first openly gay school board member

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SCREENGRAB VIA FACEBOOK.COM/SARAH.FORTNEY
  • Screengrab via Facebook.com/sarah.fortney
Sarah Fortney, a 34-year veteran of the classroom, became the state's first openly gay member of a school district last night as she bested Publix manager Scott Jones for the Polk County School Board's District 3 seat.

With all precincts reporting, Polk County elections reports that Fortney won 61 percent of the vote, a total of 120,051 ballots. Her opponent, Jones, received 39 percent, a total of 77,451. The seat was vacated by Hazel Sellers, who opted to not seek re-election.

"I would like to bring to light the struggles in real schools and why are losing people left and right," Fortney told the Lakeland Ledger. "It is not conducive to learning. I can't put one label on (why), but I would say it's been building for quite a few years. The bottom line is the people in the schools that help the kids must feel valued."



Fortney will be sworn in Nov. 20.



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