Combs announced his candidacy for the school board on Saturday outside of the Black Citizens and Friends (BCF) booth at the Cesar Chavez Celebration event at Las Colonias Park.
“There’s a lot of talk out there about equity, inclusion and diversity. Some people seem to think that diversity is meant to take things away from them, but that’s the opposite. It’s about trying to bring people together,” Combs said. “And I think doing that starts with being inclusive with children.”
Combs will be running for the District E seat held by Dr. Amy Davis, who will not be seeking re-election.
Combs has lived in the Grand Valley for 40 years. He’s also known as the president of BCF, former president of Clifton Community Hall, and co-organizer for events such as the Juneteenth celebration and Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade.
He said he sees a desire within many in the community for social change and believes it’s imperative to foster that.
“One of the things that inspired me to run is where we are at today in this space. After George Floyd, after social unrest, everyone wants to be involved. We can’t let that die down,” Combs said. “There are some people out there who say, ‘We don’t want to bring that into the school system.’ But it’s not a matter of bringing it in, it’s a matter of how are we going to teach this? This isn’t politics, this is real life. This is history. This should be talked about everywhere.”
The District C seat is also on the November ballot. Incumbent Trish Mahre announced her run for re-election on July 13. Andrea Haitz announced her candidacy for District C on July 3.
Board President Tom Parrish is term-limited, while the seats of members Paul Pitton and Doug Levinson are not up for re-election.
Combs thinks that the role of a school board is to work collaboratively with everyone involved in the district, and he thinks he has the experience for the role.
“Some people say the role of the school board is to be the boss of the district but I don’t see it like that. I look at us as equals, as if we’re part of an executive committee. Even the teachers, they’re part of our executive committee. Because without them, none of this works.” Combs said. “I’ve lived here for 40 years, I have connections, I have people that I respect and respect me. What I plan on doing is going outside of the school board and tie our kids into Mesa County government, city council. Not everyone is going to the CMU community, so they need to know what’s out there.”