Browning Excited, Grateful for Voters' Support
Browning unseated incumbent Superintendent Heather Fiorentino in Tuesday’s primary race, capturing 20,022 of the votes to Fiorentino’s 8,360.
Overwhelmed, excited and very grateful.
That’s how Kurt S. Browning described his feelings as he stood surrounded by supporters in Land O’ Lakes Tuesday night.
Grateful, he said, to all the people who campaigned for him and “the voters that made it happen.”
“Folks across the county sensed the need for change,” Browning said.
The Lodge at Wilderness Lake Preserve was packed to capacity with well-wishers, many of whom had been there since early evening, watching the election results come in.
Jan Coad, a Shady Hills Elementary teacher, said she’s taught in the county since 1970. She and her husband, Dan, a school district maintenance worker, were among the crowd that turned out to support Browning.
“I’ve known him a long time and I know he supports teachers,” Jan Coad said.
“He has positive ideas,” Dan Coad said.
Cathlee Tomkow said she grew up with Browning and his siblings. A mother of twin 6-year-olds and a 16-year-old, Tomkow said last year she noticed a “drastic change” in the education system from when her eldest was in kindergarten.
“I know he will make a huge difference,” she said.
“I’m happy for Kurt,” United School Employees of Pasco vice-president Kenny Blankenship said. “I’m hoping this will be a turnaround for morale.”
School board chairwoman Joanne Hurley, who also won her bid for re-election by a handy margin, also joined the Browning party Tuesday.
“I am so excited,” Hurley said. “The school board and the superintendent will come together and make such a cohesive team.”
Hurley said that the support each of them received from voters made a statement.
“People believe in what we’re trying to do,” she said.
Browning’s next step: building a purpose and mission-driven team of “folks that like to work and work hard.”
He also said he wants to start talking to teachers and administrators.
“They produce the product in our schools and we need to get their input,” Browning said. “They haven’t had that opportunity for a long time.”
Before Browning can claim the office, however, he must first beat write-in challenger Kat Lambert in the Nov. 6 general election.