When the conspiracy theorist Cindy Ficklin applied to become a Colorado school superintendent six months ago, she had a photo of herself online holding a pistol.
“It was either my Glock 42 or my Glock 43,” she told The Daily Beast this week.
Ficklin had also posted a missive about a supposed global conspiracy among a super-rich elite led by billionaire George Soros.
“If you don’t know who George Soros is...you’re not alone - (he’s one of the monsters in the shadows),” she wrote. “Soros seems to control even the Rothchilds… (who control all the banks in the world). Bill Gates is a Rothchid, btw. (I included his family tree as evidence.) And [Anthony] Faucio sits on the Board of Directors of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. And Fauici is head of NIH (National Institutes of Health)...which controls ‘the use of Hydroxychloroquine and EVERYTHING we are being fed about this virus. ...INCLUDING THE MASK MANDATE - (which strips us of our identities and turns us into sheep.”
Soros does not control the Rothschilds and Gates is not a member of that fabled family. Fauci is not on the Gates foundation board and the NIH does not oversee the use of hydroxychloroquine. And what masks do is save lives. This nonsense came from someone seeking to run the Mesa County Valley School District 51 and its 22,000 kids taught by 1,300 teachers.
Nobody who read Ficklin’s interlocking misapprehensions or saw the gun picture could be much surprised that the 47-year-old principal turned realtor did not get the job. She also failed in a bid to replace the five-member school board’s lone conservative, an even-tempered math teacher and football coach named Paul Pitton.
But she was successful in leading an effort to install a new wave of “conservative thinking” individuals on the county school board. And, perhaps more alarming, she has now set her sights on the state legislature.
The triggering event for Ficklin was the Aug. 13 school board meeting that led to Pitton’s decision to resign. The meeting turned so tumultuous that he and his colleagues were accorded a protective police escort from the building. Anti-mandate folks using the guise of “parents’ rights” had become incensed when the board reduced the time for public comment.
“People are just getting too crazy,” Pitton told The Daily Beast. “I think ever since COVID came out it kind of brought out the worst in people.”
Ficklin attended the meeting as a high school parent as well as a self-described “freedom activist.” She said people were already angry about the mandates and talk of gender fluidity and the supposed teaching of critical race theory.
“It woke us up,” she said. “Isn’t that an ironic term?”
She says that those who had planned to speak had become outraged when the board cut the total time allocated for public comment from 45 minutes to 35 minutes.
“It was just a loud group standing up, saying, ‘That’s not OK,’” Ficklin insisted.
The board members had finished their executive session virtually. One of them was heard to say the folks who disrupted the meeting and necessitated the evacuation were “insurrectionists.”
“A bad idea,” Ficklin told The Daily Beast.
Ficklin says the remark had an incendiary effect. Attendance grew from 25 to 600 at the weekly “Stand for the Constitution” meetings of local conservatives at Appleton Church that Ficklin had helped organize. She was a leader in an effort to unseat the three school board members who were up for re-election and install candidates to their liking.
“We decided we really needed to have conservative thinking individuals,” she said. “We organized and mobilized. We knocked on thousands of doors. It was fully grassroots.”
The election was so close that the outcome was not certain until 4 a.m. the following day.
“We got all three,” Ficklin said. “That gives us the majority.”
Seven other Colorado county school boards also flipped to conservative and anti-mandate even as a mystery COVID-19 surge was filling the state’s hospitals near to the breaking point. An indication of where the new majority will take Mesa was expected to come Saturday at the second “School Board Coffee” held since they were suspended by the pandemic. Ficklin announced on Friday that she would be giving what she termed “a speech to the outgoing board members.”
“Back when I was a school principal, if my teaching staff came to me with a problem… I told them to always come with at least one viable solution,” Ficklin’s prepared remarks began. “We have lots of problems in the school district. And thank God we flipped our school board so that we can actually work toward ameliorating those problems.”
Parents on both sides of the great divide would agree with her call for better pay for teachers and better treatment for subs. She also cites the need for better food service and she is organizing for parents to pitch in. Such efforts can bring people together.
But her top priority, her first suggestion under “SOLUTIONS!!!”, was divisively political.
“Start with letting go the HEFTILY PAID Executive Director of Equity and Inclusion,” she said.
Ficklin also said, “FIRE teachers who sexualize our children…FIRE teachers who make the kids feel badly about themselves.”
Those would apparently include teachers who delve into such matters as race and gender identity.
Her remarks as prepared did not touch on masks or vaccine. But she has declared her opposition to mandates of any kind. Never mind if they save lives.
“I want to fight for freedom and liberty,” she said.
And Ficklin is sure to talk about that as she begins to campaign for House District 55 in the state legislature, a move she framed as a sort of revenge for the school board rejecting her and her views.
“Alright. Fine. You know what? I just went ahead and I filed my paperwork today and I am now announcing for House District 55 state representative,” she said in a video posted on Facebook. “We’re going to make sure that this never happens again because this was wrong on every single level, and it’s not OK that the school board can go and do that to a community. We are going to make sure that we take this state back and this country back and this school district back.”
She later appeared to admit that she did not quite know how to behave as a political candidate.
“I am struggling making the transition from freedom-activist to candidate,” she said in an online post. “So I’ve decided just to be myself in all of it.”
Hey, if Mesa County can join in sending Lauren Boebert to Washington as the U.S. representative from Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, why not send a gun-toting conspiracy theorist to the statehouse as well?
In the meantime, Ficklin says she had no idea that some people might take her remarks concerning Soros and his supposed cabal as antisemitic.
“I was super upset for about five days that anybody talking about wealthy elite families taking over the world is antisemitic,” she said. “I support Israel.”
She also denied allegations online that she is a Q-Anon follower.
“I’m put in that category because I had attended different meetings where Q-Anon conspirators were also in attendance,” she said. “But, I am not a Q-Anon conspirator.”
She is, however, a purveyor of falsehoods in a growing grass roots movement rife with them that threatens what our kids learn in what should be sanctuaries of truth.