In June, Dane Looker filed to run for Puyallup School Board. In July, the former NFL player announced a run for Rep. Bruce Dammeier’s seat in the state House, saying he would suspend his school board campaign. But in August, he said he would “gratefully serve” in both positions.
Looker made a strong showing in the August primary. But the Republican clarified that he wouldn’t actively campaign for school board, though he would serve if elected.
On Thursday, Looker shifted gears and said he would run for school board, not the Legislature. In a Facebook post, he says:
I want to stand up and fight for our kids regardless of the consequences. So, here is some more “wavering” for all those experts who will surely offer some interesting commentary on this decision. I AM OFFICIALLY CAMPAIGNING FOR SCHOOL BOARD AND AM NO LONGER SEEKING A SEAT IN THE STATE HOUSE. I should have said that months ago, but it is a weight off my shoulders to just type it now. This is the right decision for my family, and, honestly, I am not ready to be a state legislator. So much for the argument that I was using school board as a stepping stone for the legislature.
Looker, who volunteers as a football coach at Puyallup High, confirmed the decision to me in a text while riding a school bus with the team to tonight’s game at Bethel.
He said in his post that he regrets his earlier decisions, which he blames in part on bad advice. He said he acted “cowardly” because of concern about “public perception.” Here’s the post in full:
I just want to apologize to everyone for how confusing I’ve made this entire process and thank all of you who have continued to support me unconditionally. When I filed to run for school board I did so because I care deeply about our district, our kids, and the future of our community. The day after filing for school board I was approached by community leaders about possibly running for a state legislative position. To be honest, I had never considered a career in politics and was honored to even be considered as a potential candidate. It seemed like a great fit for my family and I, and it provided an opportunity for me to enhance public education from a state level. Despite my reluctance, I was advised that it would be the right move “politically” to suspend my race for the school board and focus all my efforts on my state legislative campaign. I was quickly realizing that public perception was the determining factor behind most political decisions and it didn’t sit well with me. I’ve always been the type of person to just tell it like it is, and not worry too much about how others perceive me. We all want to be liked and accepted, but we also should always remain true to who we are. Unfortunately I failed several times along this process to do exactly that. My heart is here in this community and I am invested in the Puyallup School District. I want our district to provide an exceptional education for all of our children. I want our teachers and administrators to feel supported in every way, ensuring that they are fully equipped to fight for our kids daily. I have been criticized and sometimes even vilified for “wavering” on my school board race. I can assure you that from the day I filed to run as a candidate I have never wavered in my desire to serve the kids of our district. Unfortunately I found myself caught up in press releases, official statements, and news reports that contradicted my true feelings. When the primary results came in revealing that over 7000 voters were in my corner, I was overwhelmed. Obviously the press release announcing the “suspension” of my school board campaign was not received by the voting public as I was advised it would. Now I was in a very difficult position. News reporters were contacting me daily wanting to know how I would handle this situation. In hind sight, I should have been true to myself and and all those who voted for me and officially jumped back into the race. Once again however, public perception was “our” main concern so I supported my earlier statements that I would not “actively” campaign for school board but would serve if elected. What a cowardly way out of a tough situation. That is not representative of who I am or want to be. I want to stand up and fight for our kids regardless of the consequences. So, here is some more “wavering” for all those experts who will surely offer some interesting commentary on this decision. I AM OFFICIALLY CAMPAIGNING FOR SCHOOL BOARD AND AM NO LONGER SEEKING A SEAT IN THE STATE HOUSE. I should have said that months ago, but it is a weight off my shoulders to just type it now. This is the right decision for my family, and, honestly, I am not ready to be a state legislator. So much for the argument that I was using school board as a stepping stone for the legislature. Signs will be up soon and I could use all of your support to help spread the word! I have to make up for lost time and only have a week before ballots begin being mailed. Thank you all for listening. Your support and encouragement have meant so much!