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Meadows challenging Bell for state school board seat

Former Republican lawmaker and school choice advocate Charlotte Meadows is running for the Alabama State Board of Education seat held by Stephanie Bell who was first elected in 1994.

“Education in Alabama is my driving passion,” Meadows said in a written statement on Monday. “For too long we have suffered at the bottom of national rankings. Obviously, what we have been doing the last 30 years has not been working. It is time for a new direction on the board of education.”

Bell has not yet qualified for the 2024 race. On Tuesday, she said she’d make an announcement at the appropriate time. Bell, of Montgomery, has easily held off Democrat challengers in recent election cycles and last defeated a GOP primary opponent in 2016.

No Democrat has yet qualified to run for the seat. Qualifying for both parties ends Nov. 10. Primary elections are March 5.

Meadows, a former Montgomery Public Schools board member and current charter school board member, won a special House race in 2019. The Montgomery area district became more blue in the 2021 redistricting process prior to the 2022 election and Meadows lost the seat to Democrat Phillip Ensler of Montgomery. 

“I am a strong proponent of school choice, and not just in affluent zip codes,” Meadows said. “We need to ensure that all kids have the tools they need to succeed in life. Changing the focus on the State Board of Education will be the first step to improving our state’s education crisis.”

The board’s district 3 includes all of Bibb, Chilton, Coosa, Elmore and Shelby counties, southern Jefferson County and portions of Montgomery and Talladega counties.

Meadows, previously from Montgomery, now lives in Shelby County.

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