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Miranda Turner captures Democratic endorsement for Arlington School Board

Arlington School Board candidate Miranda Turner at Alcova Heights Park in 2021 (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

School Board candidate Miranda Turner has found success on her second go-round.

Following a three-day caucus process, Turner has captured the Democratic endorsement for Arlington School Board, with 1,004 votes to 332 for Angelo Cocchiaro. Turner will face at least one independent candidate in the November general election: James “Vell” Rives, who is also running for the second time.

Cocchiaro appeared to be considering dropping out of the race in April, but ultimately stayed in and picked up some key endorsements, including from outgoing School Board Chair Reid Goldstein. Cocchiaro’s promise to be “a prizefighter for our teachers and school staff” also helped to win him the endorsement of the political action committee of the local teachers union.

Following the release of the caucus results, the 22-year-old youth organizer said in a statement that “Arlington Democrats have made their voices heard, and I am proud to give my full-throated and unequivocal endorsement to Miranda Turner.”

“It is critical that Arlingtonians elect a candidate this November who will uphold, defend, and advance the progress achieved by this School Board, and who will advocate for every student,” he continued. “Miranda Turner is that candidate.”

Turner notably advocated for a swifter return to in-person school at Arlington Public Schools in the fall of 2020, at a time when concerns about the health impacts of such a move were heightened. Her campaign this year has focused on classroom instruction and support for teachers and students.

“The need for high-quality instruction, appropriate intervention, and the use of data to support our students is more urgent than ever,” her website says. “If elected, I will ensure a laser focus on instruction and providing an excellent education for all students.”

Turner is a Brown- and UVA-educated attorney, focused on insurance litigation, and a partner at a prominent D.C. law firm. On her website, she highlights her pro bono work and representation of Planned Parenthood.

Turner’s website notes, additionally, that she has been an APS parent since 2015 and has been active in her elementary school’s PTA and in the Green Valley Civic Association.

More on the caucus results, below, from an Arlington County Democratic Committee press release.

The Arlington County Democratic Committee (“Arlington Democrats”) is pleased to announce Miranda Turner has been selected as the winner of the 2023 School Board Endorsement Vote. After the polls closed on Saturday, May 13, Miranda Turner received 1004 votes, surpassing Angelo Cocchiaro, who received 332 votes. There were seven ballots with no vote, eight provisional ballots, and zero spoiled ballots.

“I am honored to have the Democratic endorsement in this year’s School Board election and am excited to serve Arlington Public Schools,” said Miranda Turner. “Our schools are the cornerstone of our community and our students and teachers deserve the very best. If elected in November, I will have a laser focus on instruction and provide an excellent education for all students. I will advocate for measures to help close the achievement gap, address the needs of our diverse student population, and promote policies that support the well-being and academic achievement of all students in APS.”

While School Board races in Virginia are officially nonpartisan, party committees can endorse candidates in local races. As the endorsed candidate, Miranda Turner will be identified as a Democrat on the County Committee’s Sample Ballot for the November election because the Official Ballot will not have a party affiliation notated next to candidates’ names.

“Public education has always been a top priority in our community. I am pleased that the Arlington Democrats ran an expanded process and that we now have an endorsee.  I am confident our School Board will continue to make certain that all of our students have access to a great education in a safe and inclusive environment,” said Arlington Democrats Chair, Steve Baker.

The 2023 School Board Endorsement Vote featured in-person voting hours at three APS venues across the county. Full-day voting on Sunday, May 7, and Saturday, May 13, and midweek voting hours on Wednesday, May 10, provided Arlingtonians with many ways to participate.

Arlington Democrats undertook an extensive program of community outreach, including the distribution of over 25,000 door hangers to inform voters about voting locations and schedules. The communications team also ensured that outreach materials and candidate biographies were translated into five commonly spoken languages in APS households.

“It takes a village to make this process run smoothly. I want to thank the whole Arlington Democrats organization, including the many volunteers who facilitated the process this week,” said 2023 Caucus Director Meg Flores.

Earlier this year, Arlington Democrats approved a set of rules governing filing requirements, voting, and eligibility. The unassembled caucus was open to any registered Arlington voter who signed a form pledging to support the Democratic Party endorsee. Voters were also asked to provide their names and addresses.

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