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Early Bird: Candidate First to Launch '07 Bid

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So why wait?

"I have to do what I have to do," he says. "And that is: Plan now."

He started sending letters to potential voters Nov. 10 announcing his candidacy and his reasons for running. He says his campaign prep is complete — including his platform, how he'll spend his money, the manpower he'll need and the members of his campaign team, which he'll announce next month. "By the time I get to January, I will be in a whole new phase," he says of his campaign.

The filing deadline is June 13. The election is Nov. 7.

Goodwein, 62, taught science and Spanish at George Wythe High School from 1999 to 2003 and now consults with businesses on taxation, operations, management and diversity. His four children, who are grown, went through Richmond public schools.

He calls Mimms a "hobby representative" who is slow to respond to parents' concerns and has an unhealthy allegiance to the school administration.

"He has described the wrong person," says Mimms, who plans to run for a third term on the board in 2006. "See he doesn't know me to make those statements."

Mimms says she's seen the board make "a big turnaround," becoming unified and effective, and she wants to continue the momentum. "All of my elementary schools are fully accredited," she says. "I have lots of energy, and I think I'm making a difference."

Goodwein doesn't see it. He's grown frustrated with the physical condition of schools in his South Side district. He says a greater effort is needed to help children with special needs, as well as Hispanic children and their parents who are struggling to adjust to their new communities. "If someone does not help in that transition," he says, "a kid could possibly get placed as learning disabled when they're not."

Mimms says hearing about Goodwein's campaign has forced her to start thinking about her own. "I was surprised to know someone was starting this early," she says.

"I do my homework," Goodwein says. "I map out my plans. I try to be forward in my thinking. And when things come down, I like to be ready for it."

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