LBCC Board Zone One: Cathrine Thomas

Cathrine Thomas of Sweet Home is most concerned with maintaining LBCC’s valuable programs during the recession and hiring the right new president, she said.

Thomas, 40, is one of three candidates running for zone one, which includes Sweet Home and much of East Linn County. She faces Jody Seward and Jay Jackson.

“I’m running for LBCC because I want to get involved,” Thomas said. She has never been in politics before, but “as I see my children getting older, I just want to have a voice for them.”

Her chil-dren attend school in Tangent for logistical reasons, she said. She is a confidential assistant with the Greater Albany Public Schools Maintenance Department, and it allows her to spend more time with her children. When District 55 School Board positions came open this election, she didn’t feel right running for it, but her children probably will use LBCC someday.

She believes her eagerness, dependability and experience working for GAPS will help her as she serves on the LBCC Board of Education, she said. “I work in the Maintenance Department. I can bring a different spin, not just the education part of it.”

Navigating turbulent times for budgets, “the only thing I can really do is to make good fiscal decisions,” said Thomas, who describes herself as a conservative. What that means will depend on many things.

“If a building is falling down, you can’t just cut it,” she said. She is concerned about maintaining the many vocational certificate programs, which she cites as one of the best features of LBCC.

Exact priorities in budgeting are hard to say while being an outsider, she said.

“One of the big things about being on the board, you’re going to have to help choose a new president,” she said. A good candidate will have a community college background or higher and will be a strong educator and learder, someone who can see the big picture.

Ideally, the next president will have had experience dealing with financial crises and dealt with budget issues, she said. “I honestly believe our schools are going to be different. You can’t lose that much money and not have change.”

Thomas has lived in Sweet Home for seven years. She moved here from the Silverton area after falling in love with the Sweet Home area. She grew up in Kentucky and attended Western Kentucky University, where she studied English for two and a half years. She moved to Oregon in1991.

She is married to Richard Thomas. they have two children, JessiLynn, 9, and Kyle, 12.