Lee County School Board Candidate Denise Nystrom Accepts Support from Board Member Betsy Vaughn: ‘Your Words Mean a Lot to Me’

August 18, 2022 Updated 4:37 PM ET

Denise Nystrom for Lee County School Board-District 6 (Facebook).
Denise Nystrom for Lee County School Board-District 6 (Facebook).

August 18, 2022 Updated 4:35 P.M. ET

FORT MYERS (FLV) – Lee County School Board Candidate Denise Nystrom thanked current Lee County School Board Member Betsy Vaughn for a Facebook post supporting some District 6 candidates including Nystrom.

In a July Facebook post that has since been deleted, current District 6 board member Betsy Vaughn recommended people vote for all the district’s candidates, except for Jada Langford-Fleming. Candidates in the District 6 Lee County school board race include Tia Collin, Denise Nystrom, and Jada Langford-Fleming.

“I vowed myself to refrain from making endorsements, however, based on this information combined with other info that I’ve learned I am going to make this recommendation: DO NOT VOTE FOR A MEMBER OF THE ‘OLD GUARD’! Support candidates who have connections to education and that have ‘done their homework’ re the operations of the SDLC,” Vaughn said. “That eliminates Jada in my mind.”

A screenshot of the post shows the “Elect Denise Nystrom” Facebook page responded to Vaughn’s post.

“Betsy, thank you very much. Your words mean a lot to me,” Nystrom said.

Vaughn has previously compared anti-mask mandate parents and demonstrators who attended the meeting to “Capitol rioters,” referring to January 6th. The comments resulted in shouts and groans from audience members.

“If I decide to vote against this resolution, it is not because of some of the fallacies that I’ve heard. It is not because a rabbel of people just like those who attacked the capitol,” Vaughn said in August of 2021.

Vaughn also recently made comments that prom and homecoming king and queen are “outdated” and “sexist” at a July school board meeting.

Lee County School Board Member Supports Getting Rid of Prom King and Queen: ‘Outdated and Sexist’

Florida’s Voice asked Nystrom about the exchange on Facebook.

“Board Member Vaughn is well aware that we do not share the same ideologies. Based on her Facebook post, it is also apparent that she recognizes that I have done my homework with regard to District issues,” Nystrom said.

Nystrom shared her history of attending more than 115 school board meetings and being vocal about her conservative view points. She also talked about her past as a teacher, assistant superintendent, and Chief Negotiator which she said is a “quality that is necessary in a non-partisan position.”

Lee County resident Jamie Merchant said she is concerned about Nystrom, who is running on a conservative platform, accepting support from Vaughn. Merchant used to advocate with Nystrom.

“While this is a non-partisan race and Ms. Vaughn has been instrumental in standing up to other board members and fighting inside corruption, she has also been very vocal behind a pro-LGBTQ agenda, unsupportive of parental rights, and even compared parents to insurrectionists,” Merchant said.

“I think any candidate who is running on a pro-parent or conservative platform wouldn’t want the support of Ms. Vaughn. You cannot actively fight against the things she supports and accept her support.”

Matt Caldwell said the Facebook post and comment were “pretty eyebrow raising.”

“What it looks like to me is a candidate that is absolutely desperate for affirmation from any corner that they can find,” Caldwell said. “It’s one thing to build a coalition. It’s another thing to sign up to ally with somebody who’s just totally opposed to your principle core purpose for running in the first place.”

Some of Nystrom’s endorsements include the Conservative Christian Coalition and United Christians for America.

“Anyone that is concerned that I may not be conservative, you can ask Betsy Vaughn herself,” Nystrom said. “But I also unite people.”

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