If Art Ianni wants to serve another term on the Pembroke school board, among the candidates he must beat: his daughter
Not too many 18-year-olds run for elective office and even fewer decide to challenge their dad's bid for reelection but that's just what Samantha Ianni plans to do in the May 21 Pembroke Central School District Board of Trustees election.
Dad, Art Ianni, facing reelection for the first time after a single five-year term, is fine with it. Though he really doesn't want to lose.
"I have a lot of respect for my daughter and her decision making has always been pretty good so I'm going to stick behind her," Ianni said. "At the same token, over the five years, I've developed a lot of relationships with people on the board. So, through my experience and knowledge, I think that I can finish."
That sounds like a challenge, he's told.
"At age 55,I might know a few more people than my daughter. But again, it'll be interesting to see what she brings."
For Sam, being young is an advantage, she said. She's only a year removed from high school and will be a student herself throughout her entire term, if elected, first as an undergrad in education at the University at Buffalo and then working on her master's in education.
She also thinks that while her classmates are pretty tied up with their own studies and possibly in college out of the area, the students who were just a year or two ahead of her might be around and they might be eager to come out and support her candidacy.
Sam was the student ex-officio member of the school board a year ago and in January one of her former teachers, Alexis Langheier, suggested to Sam that she run for the seat.
"I was talking to her about how school was going and everything and she brought it up to me," Sam said. "She was like, 'I think this could be a really cool opportunity for you. You would learn a lot. I think that you also have a lot to offer the board.' "
Art was bemused when Sam first mentioned the idea to him but quickly decided it was a good thing for her and the community.
"Well, after I laughed a little bit I said, 'You know, I'm happy that one of the products of the school, any student, would want to be that involved in their community and want to come back is a wonderful thing,'" Art said. "That's what we do as a school board. That's what we try to accomplish. It's cool that it's my daughter but any 18-year old who would run against me I would be very proud of."
There is only one seat open in this election and Art and Sam aren't the only candidates. There's also Jeanna Clark. (Strassburg before her recent marriage).
The natural question for Art is whether having Sam on the ballot might split any potential vote against him but he said he doesn't think Sam running helps him. She could bring in her own voters.
"I'd like to think that my experience on that board will push me all the way through," Art said. "Sam may bring in another 50 voters, which may not be the whole scale but it'll be close. Yeah, it'll be close. It'll be heartbreaking either way. Someone's losing whether it's myself whether it's Sam whether it's the other one obviously someone is losing. So, yeah, I'll feel bad but not for long."
Good for her! I wish her all the luck in the world.