Just to be clear, Camden Raynor does not want to be the county executive.
A computer error with the state’s Board of Elections website originally listed Raynor as a Democratic candidate for county executive, Raynor said. It later said Raynor withdrew his candidacy.
“I’m not sure why that happened, but I have no desire to run for county executive,” Raynor said. “I want to run for the Board of Education. ... I am also fervently unaffiliated.”
Raynor, a 19-year-old junior at the University of Maryland, College Park, on Tuesday became the third person to file as a candidate for the Board of Education.
Raynor graduated from Middletown High School in 2016, and is a double major in history and economics at Maryland. He has served on the Family Life Advisory Council for the last four years, including the last two as recording secretary.
Despite running for the student member of the board position and being involved in the Student Government Association when he was at Middletown, Raynor insisted that his interest is not based on lack of voting rights for students. In fact, Raynor largely does not support student voting rights on the board.
“I’m not totally against them having a vote on something like the calendar,” he said. “But I don’t think they should have a vote on anything that has to do with the budget.”
Raynor himself is still studying the budget and he acknowledged the responsibility that comes with overseeing what could be a more than $600 million budget should he take office.
“It’s a tremendous responsibility, and I’m not going to pretend to know everything about the budget,” he said. “I don’t. It’s a huge amount of money. But I know I’ll have a good team around me, and I will be sure to be a good steward of that money if I’m elected.”
Growing up in a household with two parents who are teachers, Raynor advocated for higher teacher salaries, and supported the teacher pay scale transition that will enter its third year next school year. Raynor said he planned to support that transition through its final phase. Raynor added that a large focus of his candidacy will be to push for higher pay for the school system’s instructional assistants.
As part of his campaign, Raynor said he hopes to advocate for more equitable distribution of school construction projects.
With so much growth in the southern half of the county, several school projects are happening there to provide seats for those additional students. But other parts of the county have been overlooked as a result, he said.
“We have schools in the western part of the county where I’m from that haven’t been updated in 40 or 50 years,” Raynor said. “I just feel like the school system could do a better job making sure all parts of the county are having their schools updated.”
As a recent student, Raynor said he has an understanding of what is being taught in the classroom, and he has concerns regarding the school district’s approach. While he neither supports nor opposes Common Core, he said he thinks the school system puts too much emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math — STEM — fields.
“I think we need to get back to basics inside the classroom,” Raynor said. “Reading, writing, basic math.”
There seems to be a bit of a youth movement thus far in the race for the Board of Education, with two of the three candidates to file being under 21 years of age. Edison Hatter, 18, and Brad Young, the current board president, have also filed.
Raynor, like Hatter, said he hopes that his age won’t be a factor in the race.
“I’m not running as a 19-year-old,” he said. “I’m a citizen of the county who happens to be 19.”
Raynor commutes to the University of Maryland and is on campus only twice a week, making him available for school board meetings, he said.
Four seats on the board are up for election this year. The primary is June 26. The general election is Nov. 6.