All Politics is Local

Local woman to serve as acting head of Office for Civil Rights

Former Washington state Sen. Don Benton might be the local person grabbing headlines for nabbing a spot with the Trump administration, but he’s not the only one.

A recent article by ProPublica delved into the history of Candice Jackson, a native of Battle Ground, who is the new acting head of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.

The article points out that while studying at Stanford, Jackson complained she was discriminated against because she is white.

“As an undergraduate studying calculus at Stanford University in the mid-1990s, Candice Jackson ‘gravitated’ toward a section of the class that provided students with extra help on challenging problems, she wrote in a student publication. Then she learned that the section was reserved for minority students,” the article states. 

“I am especially disappointed that the University encourages these and other discriminatory programs,” she wrote in the Stanford Review. “We need to allow each person to define his or her own achievements instead of assuming competence or incompetence based on race.”

Jackson is an attorney whose family is well known in the area.

Her father is physician Rick Jackson a Republican who ran for Congress and records country music songs. Both of her brothers are actors. Richard Lee Jackson’s resume includes an episode of “Ally McBeal” and the film “Bring It On Again.” Her other brother, Jonathan Jackson, is also an actor who plays Avery Barkley on the drama Nashville, among other roles.

The ProPubilca article states some are worried about how the department will be steered while Jackson is serving in the role and how she will investigate allegations of unfair treatment of women and minorities.

“Jackson’s inexperience, along with speculation that Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos will roll back civil rights enforcement, lead some observers to wonder whether Jackson, like several other Trump administration appointees, lacks sympathy for the traditional mission of the office she’s been chosen to lead,” the article states.

Jackson will serve as assistant secretary in charge of the office until the position is filled.

“Although her limited background in civil rights law makes it difficult to infer her positions on specific issues, Jackson’s writings during and after college suggest she’s likely to steer one of the Education Department’s most important — and controversial — branches in a different direction than her predecessors. A longtime anti-Clinton activist and an outspoken conservative-turned-libertarian, she has denounced feminism and race-based preferences. She’s also written favorably about, and helped edit a book by, an economist who decried both compulsory education and the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964,” the article states.

Lauren Dake

Lauren Dake covers politics for The Columbian. You can reach her at 360-735-4534 or lauren.dake@columbian.com. Follow her on Twitter .

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