Primary election narrows field of school board candidates

OKANOGAN – Last Tuesday’s primary election narrowed the field of Oroville School Board candidates for Positions 4 and 5 from three to two.

In Position 4, candidate Phil Barker received the most votes with 293 or 43.03 percent of the ballots cast. Incumbent Patti Garrett had the second most votes with 242 or 35.54 percent. Brian Swenson was third with 146 votes. It appears that Barker and Garrett will meet in the Nov. 8 general election.

For Position 5, Rocky DeVon was the top vote getter with 270 or 39.47 percent. Coming in second was former Oroville School Director Timothy Whiteaker with 223 or 32.6 percent of the votes cast. Anne Marie Ricevuto was third with 191. It looks like DeVon and Whiteaker will be on the November general election ballot.

Barker has owed and operated Thermal Air in Oroville for 30 years. He and his wife Terry have two children.

“As a school board member, I am ready to work hard with students, parents, teachers and administration to establish higher goals for our school district. The success of Oroville students shall be my number one priority,” said Barker prior to the election.

Garrett is a mother of five and with her husband Pat operates several businesses. She said she has over 20 years of experience in construction, land development, restaurant ownership and retail businesses. She has an A.S. in Early Childhood Education. The Garrets own Garrett Construction Co., Inc. and Garrett Interiors in Oroville.

“I feel the first major order of business with the school board will be meeting the budget to keep our schools functioning at the appropriate levels. With all the cutbacks in our state, I believe this will be challenging. I also think we need to keep a level of accountability within our schools, as it is with all businesses in our world,” said Garrett.

DeVon has worked in cattle ranching and orcharding and owns RE/MAX Lake and Country Real Estate in Oroville with his wife Cindy. He has three sons and a daughter.

“I have always felt a sense of responsibility for community service. I feel that if you aren’t working to make things better you have no right to complain,” said DeVon. “There are two very important issues to me, fiscal responsibility and quality education for our children. The school board is responsible for steering policy for both of these very important issues”

Whiteaker was in the U.S. Coast Guard for 20 years before moving back to Oroville. He is the Maintenance Supervisor of four government buildings in Washington and the owner of Lakeview Heating and Cooling in Oroville.

“I held a school board position previously and I enjoyed it greatly. I would like to bring my experiences with budgeting and maintenance to the board,” Whiteaker said.

Altogether 2752 votes were cast in the primary, which included a hospital levy, a council position in Brewster and tax levies in Twisp and Winthrop. There are 390 ballots left to count, according to the auditor’s office with the next ballot count planned for Aug. 18. The election results are unofficial until certified which is scheduled for Aug. 31.

About Gary DeVon

Gary DeVon is the managing editor of the Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune and celebrated his 25th year at the newspaper in August 2012. He graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Communications - Print Journalism, with an emphasis in photojournalism. He is a proud alumnus of Oroville High School. His family first settled in Okanogan County in the late 1800s. His parents are the Judy DeVon and the late Larry DeVon and he has two younger brothers - Dante and Michael. Many family members still call Oroville home. He is single with a grown daughter, Segornae Douglas and a young granddaughter, Erin.

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