Two new members win seats on board

Two incumbents, Chanz Keeney and Dale Keene, retained their seats on May 19 in three contested District 55 School Board races while longtime community volunteer Billie Weber replaced seven-year board veteran Diane Gerson.

Jenny Daniels defeated Steven Hiett, 749 to 495 votes, for position two, Liberty. Incumbent Jeff Lynn did not file because he was planning to move outside the Liberty zone. Daniels received 47.14 percent of the votes cast.

Jason Redick ran unopposed in position seven, at large. He received 1,163 votes.

Keeney defeated Brandell Braatz, 897 to 449 votes, for position one, Holley.

Keene defeated David Kem, 658 to 630 votes, for position eight, at large.

In the most competitive field of candidates in the election,Weber defeated Gerson, Melany Glossa, Travis Luttmer and Larry Angland for position five, at large. Weber received 472 votes; Gerson, 399; Luttmer, 290; Glossa, 168; and Angland, 119.

Representing the Sweet Home area for the Linn-Benton-Lincoln Education Service District Board of Directors, zone one, Jean Wooten defeated Don Hopkins 1,658 to 1,145.

Representing the Sweet Home and east Linn County areas on the Linn-Benton Community College Board of Directors, zone one, Cathrine Thomas won with 710 votes. Jody Seward received 701 votes, and Jay Jackson received 576 votes.

Sweet Home Fire and Ambulance District candidates Roy F. Gaskey and Dawn Mitchell were unopposed for positions four and five of the Sweet Home Fire and Ambulance District Board of Directors. Gaskey received, 1,269 votes. Mitchell received 1,145 votes.

Laura M. Mather and Michael O. Melcher ran unopposed for Sweet Home Cemetery District Board of Directors position one and two respectively. Mather received 1,083 votes. Melcher received 1,103 votes.

Turnout countywide was 19.97 percent, with 12,546 out of 62,811 registered voters casting ballots.

Final numbers could change after Linn County receives ballots turned in through other Oregon counties.

“I think I have accomplished a lot of the things I wanted to do,” Gerson said. “Getting the strategic plan where it is now is an accomplishment for the board and superintendent.”

She had hoped to continue on as the strategic plan is finalized, she said prior to the election.

“I am disappointed,” she said. “Like I say, that’s how the system operates.”

“I still wish to stay involved with the School District in any way they can use me,” said Gerson, a retired educator. “I’m sure there are things I can do to be helpful. I enjoyed my time on the board. I felt I was productive and helpful, and I’m willing to help with the district anyway.”

In any case, it gives her more time to spend with her husband, Gus, and travel, she said, although she remains busy with the Commission for Children and Families and the Sweet Home Friends of the Library.

“I’m not retiring from public life.”

She said it’s disappointing that more people didn’t take the time to vote.

“It’s so simple in Oregon,” she said. “I would have liked to see more people vote. They don’t really recognize how important the School Board position is in the community.”

As the largest or second largest employer in the area, she said, that’s a lot of responsibility.

Keeney entered the election having taken some potentially controversial positions during his term of office. He proposed reinstating some form of elementary school level sports within the district, a function filled by the Boys and Girls Club right now. Most recently, he opposed ratifying the teachers contract because he opposed raises with the recession and budget problems.

“I definitely appreciate the community re-electing me,” he said. “On top of that, I appreciate the support they’re giving.”

As he entered the election, he said, he knew his record was worrisome.

“I had two groups of people I knew had difficulties with me,” he said.

“I was pretty much going along with the sitting position usually gets re-elected unless they do something wrong to upset the people,” he said.

He was impressed by his opponent, Braatz, he said. “She was a great candidate. I would’ve voted for her.”

“I’m pretty excited,” Daniels said. She’ll take office in July, and with the budget for 2009-10 set and other issues wrapped up, she said she’s looking forward to coming into a board on a fresh start.

School District 55, Zone 1

Votes %

Chanz Keeney 897 (56.45)

Brandell Braatz 449 (28.26)

Write-In 11 (.69)

Over Votes 0 (0)

Under Votes 232 (14.6)

School District 55, Zone 2

Votes %

Steven Hiett 495 (31.15)

Jenny Daniels 749 (47.14)

Write-In 13 (.82)

Over Votes 2 (.13)

Under Votes 330 (20.77)

School District 55, Zone 5

Votes %

Melany Glossa 168 (10.57)

Diane Gerson 399 (25.11)

Billie V. Weber 472 (29.70)

Travis Luttmer 290 (18.25)

Larry Angland 119 (7.49)

Write-In 9 (.57)

Over Votes 3 (.19)

Under Votes 129 (8.12)

School District 55, Zone 7

Votes %

Jason Redick 1,163 (73.19)

Write-In 13 (.82)

Over Votes 1 (.06)

Under Votes 412 (25.93)

School District 55, Zone 8

Votes %

Dale Keene 658 (41.41)

David J. Kem 630 (39.65)

Write-In 11 (.69)

Over Votes 0 (0)

Under Votes 290 (18.25)

LBL-ESD Zone 1

Votes %

Don Hopkins 1,145 (34.13)

Jean Wooten 1,658 (49.42)

Write-In 24 (.72)

Over Votes 0 (0)

Under Votes 528 (15.74)

LBCC Zone 1

Votes %

Jay Jackson 576 (19.84)

Cathrine Thomas 710 (24.46)

Jody Seward 701 (24.15)

Write-In 22 (.76)

Over Votes 1 (.03)

Under Votes 893 (30.76)

Sweet Home Fire and Ambulance District Position 4

Votes %

Roy Gaskey 1,269 (80.6)

Write-In 19 (1.02)

Over Votes 0 (0)

Under Votes 297 (18.74)

Sweet Home Fire and Ambulance District Position 5

Votes %

Dawn Mitchell 1,145 (72.24)

Write-In 23 (1.45)

Over Votes 0 (0)

Under Votes 417 (26.31)

Sweet Home Cemetery District Position 1

Votes %

Laura M. Mather 1,083 (81.86)

Write-In 9 (.68)

Over Votes 0 (0)

Under Votes 231 (17.46)

Sweet Home Cemetery District Position 2

Votes %

Michael O. Melcher 1,103 (83.37)

Write-In 13 (.98)

Over Votes 0 (0)

Under Votes 207 (15.65)