When Christine Thompson won a seat on the Livingston County school board in November, she was surprised to learn that her position came with an unexpected title – first Latino woman to win an election in Kentucky.
“I couldn’t believe it, I was like there’s no way,” said the 37-year-old mother of two. “But then I thought, I’ve never heard of a Latino woman (in office), so maybe I am the first.”
New Livingston County school board member Christine Thompson was sworn in prior to her first meeting.
Thompson said she plans to focus on fiscal responsibility, transparency and bringing stability to the board.
(Photos courtesy of Christine Thompson)
Thompson, the daughter of Mexican immigrants who gained their citizenship in the 1970s, didn’t run for the school board to make history; she did it for her daughters and community.
“I just wanted to make a difference and I want to help make positive changes in our district,” she said. “I think everyone has a stake in a good school system.”
It was a message she took door to door as she campaigned in Ledbetter, a community of about 1,700 along the Ohio River just east of Paducah. Residents without children or who have grown children told her that they didn’t have a stake in the schools.
“I would try to explain to them that having a good school district makes the community more attractive," she said. “It has a ripple effect on everything in the community.”
While Thompson did not set out to be the first Hispanic woman elected in the state, she believes her perspective and experience will be a benefit to the school board.
“Having people with diverse backgrounds on a board, or serving their community, I think it’s a good thing,” she said. “We all have different points of view and our backgrounds help us make decisions and help shape our view of things.”