Thank you to all who supported my campaign. I am grateful for the support of so many.
It appears that candidates that are not endorsed by Democrats are unable to win in this town. Rather than focusing on their own candidates, the HDTC launched attack after attack. Darlene Hayes, chair of the HDTC, posted all over social media that I should leave the community and move. She yelled at people in public who were in support of me. She aligned me with Trump. She notified community members publicly that I was not at Town Meeting and not engaging in town policies even though I was on a planned vacation with my family. Darlene Hayes has been in constant communication with Town Clerk Connor Degan about my campaign. Conversations that I held in confidence with Connor were shared with Darlene. She then used it to attack me and my commitment to my campaign. (Mr. Degan has admitted to me that he had shared this information with her). Not only is this extremely unprofessional, it shows clearly that even the Town Clerk in his professional role is unable to maintain his non-partisanship and that his true loyalty lies with his party.
HTA President Becky Abate is out of control. She is extremely polarizing and confrontational. She fights with Hopkinton parents openly on various forums both privately and publicly. She bullies and spreads misinformation. She believes as the Union President she can get away with this behavior. The Hopkinton schools let her operate with impunity. In any other job she would have been fired long ago for insubordination, conduct unbecoming, defamation and slander. I have spoken with dozens of parents and students who have been personally victimized and attacked by this woman. She openly attacks the superintendent, school committee members, and the Select Board. Let’s also not forget that two school committee members resigned last year because of Abate’s letter that later proved to be false. Why does Hopkinton public schools continue to employ her?
A FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) violation also came out of the Elmwood school. This violation occurred when private information about my child’s education was released and hit the rumor mill. This is unconscionable. Any communication that I have about my child’s education should be kept private. The leak of this information resulted in rumors, gossip, false information and attacks. Should a parent not be able to speak to teachers and principals and feel their conversations are kept in confidence? I will be taking steps to file a complaint with Department of Education as I strongly believe no parent should ever be made to go through this in the district.
I ran for school committee because sitting school committee chair Nancy Cavanaugh and school committee member Holly Morand both sought me out and asked me to consider running. Nancy even offered to help me get signatures for my nomination papers and Holly donated to my campaign. I had no intention of running but I was assured by both of these members that I would be supported and they were concerned about the two candidates the HDTC had propped up, as neither had any involvement with the schools prior to their run. Nancy stated she believed I could “easily beat both.” Holly stated she would do “whatever she could to help me.” As soon as I pulled papers, and put in my nomination both of them told me they did not want to “be involved.” Nancy even went as far to message me again and ask me to not use her name publicly. Once the attacks started that I was anti LGBTQ they both abandoned me completely. Neither one came out and publicly said that people should stop the attacks or to speak on my character. Not a single attack (that came without any evidence) was remotely true. Both of them are members of the HDTC (Holly has since resigned) and received pressure to not support my campaign. Both of them will also say they supported me until the LBGTQ attacks started and they then changed their mind. This is absolutely ludicrous. None of those accusation were true nor was there any evidence to back it up. If I was such a bigot, racist, and homophobe why weren’t these things brought up last year when I ran? And where is the evidence? Both of these school committee members led me on and let me down. I have these conversations in writing.
And furthermore, I have many families who identify as LGBTQ that had my yard signs proudly in their yard. They were shocked this garbage was happening.
I had to speak with the police and the school administration to ensure the safety of my kids.
The School Committee is a VOLUNTEER role. No one is this town should ever experience what I have endured to try to serve this town.
I spent countless hours of my time, money and energy hoping to serve our kids and our schools. I am a real person, a mother of 3 young kids, and a lifelong resident of Hopkinton.
While I stood holding signs all day yesterday from 6:45am- 8pm with friends, family and my children, I was screamed at and called a book banner, a racist, a fascist, a homophobe and all sorts of obscenities. People screamed at my young kids. This is the reality of what I experienced just to wave and smile at people as they came to vote.
I know only a small percentage of the town may pay attention to town elections. But for those paying attention, our town is going in a VERY wrong direction. And a person who has lived here her entire life has been made to feel unwelcome for only trying to serve this community.
Be leery, friends.
Ashley Fogg was a candidate for school committee in 2023