Yesterday, I had a long conversation with Kelly Payne. She initiated the conversation in response to my comments here: http://garnetspy.com/2010/05/23/the-necessary-three/#comment-2661
Here are some interesting things I learned from that conversation.
Eckstrom Relationship denied
Regarding the alleged “affair” between her and Eckstrom, she denied ever having any intercourse with Eckstrom. Apparently someone, somehow, gained access to her email and went digging for dirt. They found some emails from Eckstrom to Payne, and she believes they tried to blackmale him with those embarrassing emails. (Eckstrom won’t publicly admit that he was blackmaled, but she strongly suspects they did.)
So, when they found out that Eckstrom didn’t have a pile of cash (like someone like McMaster), they turned to other means of monetizing their ill-gotten gain. Miss Payne suspects that one of her opponents bought the emails, and they were released on SC Hotline and FITSNews (surprise?).
She did confirm that the emails were not forged.
Miss Payne said that she never did anything to provoke or encourage the attention she got from Eckstrom, and no emails were released from Payne to Eckstrom–apparently because there were none. She said the only reason she hasn’t taken a stronger stance against his actions is because she isn’t out to destroy his primary chances, but afterwards–whether he wins or loses–she will consider having a restraining order put on Eckstrom to prevent any further stalking.
I have not as of yet read the leaked emails, so I cannot say whether her story contradicts what was actually said.
Regarding the claim someone made that she said she was “working for Eckstrom’s campaign” at the Spartanburg GOP stump meeting, what she actually said was “I worked [past tense] for his campaign…” She said she wanted to know if he was going to mention her role in getting school district spending online for public viewing, and that she hasn’t worked for his campaign in two years–and when she did it was an odd job organizing some records after another school teacher he’d hired had a child and fell behind.
- Payne supports vouchers, and certain “scholarships” (a more media-friendly way of doing the same thing)
- Initially opposed school district consolidation, but after being hired by Ashley Landiss to do research on the subject, came to the conclusion that it would be beneficial after all. Opposes state-mandated consolidations; she said that decisions like this need to be left up to the community, but indicated that the community must make some hard choices in light of the budget shortfalls.
- Payne stated that she played an important role to achieve school spending transparency via the Comptroller General’s office (she acknowledged working with Eckstrom on this)
Greenville GOP Debate, 12/2009
Miss Payne said she did horribly in this debate. It was her first one, and she had never before debated in public.
Regarding her support of whole language techniques for reading, her explanation was that phonics absolutely do a better job teaching reading to most students, but that an unfortunate federal legislation–the IDEA act–forces schools to “not discriminate” against students who would have great difficulty learning to read with phonics (dyslexic students, and others).
She stated that Barbara Nielson Inez Tenenbaum did much harm to SC’s educational system.
During our conversation, she cited strong support from the Myrtle Beach TEA Party, and the unprecedented recent endorsements of two school administrators, one of whom is a Democrat.
So there you have it, her side of the story. I have not decided who I am supporting. I only saw the first debate (mentioned above), and since she indicated that doesn’t really tell the whole story, and there have been around 12 debates since then, I am trying to get my hands on footage of some of those other debates.
Please do your own research, and if you have further information, please post it in the comment section.