This week we ask some of the candidates, especially those that are competing for the same office, to tell us a little about their backgrounds, why they want to be elected and what issues and/or concerns they feel are important to the position they are seeking. Here are their responses in their own words:
Tonasket School Board Position 4
Background: I am now retired, but enjoyed teaching in the Tonasket School District for 22 years. Many years ago I served on the Tonasket School board for 10 years. I worked in banking and so have a background in finance. I also served several years on the Tonasket City Council.
I have a Bachelor and Masters Degrees in Mathematics Education and have National Board Certificate for Math Education.
My family includes my husband, Tom Fancher and three children and spouses: Brett and Michele Fancher; Ryan and Holly (Bringman) Fancher; Tara and Matt Deebach. I also have five wonderful grandchildren.
Why do you want to be elected? Having worked so many years in the Tonasket School District, I have in intimate knowledge of the nuts and bolts of our educational system from the inside. I understand what is takes for a student to learn. Our school board consists of good people who care about the education of our children, but they may not fully understand how each of their policy decisions affects the students and teachers. While it is important to look at the district as a whole unit, it is also important to understand education from the student and teacher perspective—the very foundation of learning.
Finally, as a retiree, I not only have a unique perspective to offer, but I have the time to devote to this important position.
1) The primary issue is space limitations. Not only is our student population growing, but the ways those spaces are educationally used is now more challenging. The obvious answer is to submit a bond proposal to meet our educational needs—however we must be mindful of the economic conditions within our area. The wildfires put many households in economic despair. For that reason, I urged the school board to delay the submission of a bond issue for one year. I do strongly support the need for a replacement maintenance levy issue this year—that is critical for a sound educational system.
2) For me the second issue is the use of teaching time. From experience I can attest that we use way too much time for testing. This is not using our educational time wisely. I would limit the time classroom teachers must spend testing students instead of teaching.
3) The third issue is “the end product.” When students graduate from Tonasket are they ready for college; a vocational school; a job? Have Tonasket students had the opportunity to take all the classes they need? Have struggling students had remediation opportunities they need? Have accelerated students had the opportunities they want and need? I’m not sure our Middle and High School schedules allow for all of this to happen. I would like to see teachers having the opportunity for input into the scheduling and student placement.
Background: My immediate family is my wife Kathy and my daughter Jentri and son Jesse. My parents, grandmother and majority of extended family lives in the area as well. Our kids are enrolled in Tonasket Elementary school. I am currently in position 3 on Tonasket school board and have served one term. In the past I have served as board member on North Central Washington Home Builders Assoc. as delegate for Okanogan County. I have volunteered coaching youth sports. I have volunteered and served on the board and as arena director for the Tonasket Junior Rodeo the past several years.
Why do you want to be elected? While we have a very diverse board, we are becoming very cohesive board with a good chemistry existing. I am excited about the addition of a new superintendent and look forward to continued momentum in the Tonasket School District. In the future we will be running a bond for new construction and with owning a construction company for 15 years I have knowledge that will be beneficial when working with teams as the much needed construction takes place on facilities. As a local business owner I understand the local economy and use my experience to cross over and be an informed board member working for the kids and families in the district. I have two children in the district and their ability to learn, participate and have opportunities alongside all the children/students in the district is of the highest importance to me.
Important issues/concerns: Most important issue facing our district right now is a need for expansion of facilities. Second most important, is continued maintenance of our facilities. Third, is to get reserve balance back to where school board wants it. I would handle these issues through strategic planning with board and superintendent, as well as reaching out to the community for input and support.
Oroville Council Position 4
Background: I have lived in Oroville the majority of my life, having been raised here and attended Oroville Schools for 12 years, graduating in 1965. My wife Vicki and I own and operate Vicki’s Unique Boutique on Main Street in Oroville. We previously operated Hart’s Automotive Body Shop. Our son Kevin Brewster manages the thrift store business for us. We have a son, Walter IV, who lives in Tacoma and a daughter Cynthia in Oregon.
Currently I am active in the Chamber of Commerce, the American Legion and serve as Scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 26. I retired from the US Army Reserve after 39 years.
Why do you want to be elected? I am running for re-election to City Council Position 4 because I enjoy being on Council and representing the citizens of Oroville. I have an open mind as to issues that arise and on several occasions have had my opinion swayed by persuasive citizens or my Council collegues. Not all issues are black and white as demonstrated by the recent ambulance service issues. I struggle with budget issues such as raising water and sewer rates when I know they affect the citizens, especially those on low or fixed incomes.
Important issues/concerns: The cost and availability of water along with water rights issues will continue to be one of the most important topics of discussion for the future. The vitality of Main Street business is an important economic factor for the city. Those businesses provide income for their owners and employees while providing the city with sales tax and hotel/motel tax that fuels the city budget for police, fire department and other city services. Another issue to be address is how to best utilize the Prince Family Park as our gateway park to Oroville.
Oroville has a very cohesive city council where issues are well researched and studied before a decision is made. Much of the information is gathered by committees and staff who delve deeply into the issues and bring the facts and recommendation back to council for a vote. The actions citizens see at council meetings is just the tip of the iceberg. Ed Naillon’s guidance on the council will be greatly missed but I look forward to working with the person who fills his position.
I was appointed to a vacant position by the Council in 2001 and have been re-elected every four years since then. Neysa Rolly and I have both attained Advance Certification of Municipal Leadership. I attend the Association of Washington Cities conference every year to keep updated on current topics for cities and how to be a more effective leader. Your vote in this election would be greatly appreciated.
Oroville City Council Position 5
Background: Hello my name is Chris Allen and I am 33-years-old. I live in Oroville with my wife Heather, daughter Bailee, and sons, Cacey and Hunter. We are proud to call Oroville our home. I’m a successful business owner, I am an emergency medical technician and also a certified nurse’s assistant. I am very familiar with the problems facing EMS system. I will work diligently and relentlessly to create the A+ ambulance service we have grown to know and love. I will utilize all willing and available volunteer EMTs and with your help we will once again make this town the greatest in the Okanogan Valley.
Why do you want to be elected: I believe it is time for meaningful change in city government. They have forgotten the role of government is to serve the people, not the other way around. At a recent city council meeting the president of the senior citizen center was not allowed to speak on the importance of our local ambulance volunteers. This is part of a disturbing pattern where important decisions are made behind closed doors. City government officials are rarely present at city functions. The decision to fire our dedicated ambulance volunteers and hire a for-profit private ambulance with fewer people on duty and without a back-up ambulance was typical of their disregard for community interests.
If elected, that will change. I will listen carefully with my only motivation being what is best for the community. I will attend city events, encourage local business development and be visible in the community. Now is the time to stop fixing the blame for the past and fix the course for the future.
Important issues/concerns? Public safety, jobs and economic development. We begin by fixing the ambulance problem. I will work to assure a service where dedicated local volunteers are able to serve their community. This will save almost $ 200,000 of taxpayer money per year. I will seek available grant funds to give our police department the tools and people to reduce crime.
Economic development brings jobs. I will work with the Chamber of Commerce and local business in a partnership designed to revitalize our community. We need to make our community a destination location. I will seek economic development grant funds to promote our community. Jobs come with economic development. All of this comes with partnerships, cooperation and hard work. I am going to work to make sure all three are part of our formula for success.
Background: I am 43-years-old and my immediate family includes my husband Ross Roley and five children Gareth (wife Elizabeth), Eric, Dayna (husband Garret), Bethany, Bonnie, and brand new grandson Asher.
It has been my pleasure to serve eight years as Oroville City Council-Member, and Okanogan Public Health District board member for six years, I have earned my Advanced Certificate of Municipal Leadership, and served on the following committees: Library, Airport, Parks, Solid waste, Industrial Park. I have also been on the board of the Chamber of Commerce, a chamber member, and a member of various church and community organizations. I like to volunteer wherever I am able. Professionally I currently work as a Substitute Parapro for the school district. In the past I have been an EMT, activities assistant at the nursing home, pharmacy technician, social worker, and a receptionist. But the most important job I’ve had has been as a homemaker and mother raising my five children.
Why do you want to be elected? I want to continue to serve as a Councilwoman because I love Oroville. My husband and I couldn’t ask for a better place to raise our kids. I have been impressed time and again with the way this community rallies together and supports one another when there is a need. I have never experienced that kind of whole community caring anywhere else. I’m proud to live here and be associated with such fine people. Are there problems facing this city? Yes. Are there solutions? Always. Complaining never accomplished anything, however. Being an elected Civil Servant is the best way to effect change, provide leadership, change the future, and give back to the community. I’ve never been one to sit on the sidelines. I believe I can accomplish things, and that’s what I’m trying to do.
1. I see the many empty storefronts in town and share every citizens concern. Our businesses are the backbone of our city. They provide local shopping, employment, draw in tourism, and provide local tax revenue. I have been in support of any action to come before the Council that would create a favorable business environment and encourage and support business owners. I encourage every resident to do their part to support local businesses and stimulate growth by shopping local whenever possible.
2. My dream project would be to bring in another hotel to provide much needed accommodation space, employment, tourism, and revenue for the city. In the meantime I will see the library remodel complete and all of our parks further developed. These important projects will enrich the lives of citizens and visitors. Also critical will be the improvement and expansion of the airport runway and facilities, and to provide for further business growth.
3. Every person in Oroville and the surrounding area is no doubt aware of the ambulance service controversy. One of our greatest needs and focus right now needs to be in arranging a contract with an ambulance provider that will provide the level of service that our citizens deserve. As negotiations begin, I will keep the public’s safety and the City’s financial responsibility in the forefront as the greatest priorities. My long term presence on the council and mutual respect of my fellow council members enables me to have a voice that is listened to and respected as opposed to someone who desires to bring conflict and a private agenda.
I am privileged to be able to speak on behalf of the citizens of Oroville and will always provide a listening ear to anyone’s concerns and ideas. Thank you for trusting me with your vote.
Oroville City Council Position 3
Background: My name is Robert Fuchs and I’m 51-years-old. I was born in Germany, my wife Steffi and I moved to the U.S. in 1996 and became U.S. Citizens three years ago. We have two beautiful kids, Lena who is 16 years old and a junior, Paul is 11 and in sixth grade Before we moved to Oroville 15 years ago we lived on Guam, California and North Carolina. I have worked at Princes/Hughes Department store for 13 years and my wife works at the school as a lunch lady. I was a volunteer at the Oroville Fire Department for ten years and a soccer youth referee for two.
Important issues/concerns? My main concerns for the city is to bring more businesses to town and find things to do for our youth. For new businesses we should try to give tax breaks to make our city more attractive to invest in and find easy and affordable loans for start-ups.
I believe our local kids need a place to meet and play – like the senior center, we need a youth center. We have a need for the tourist and the local kids to have more activities like skate park, climbing wall and a play ground in the city park.
We should have movie nights during summer at the city park to bring locals and tourists together.
I will do my best to make our beautiful area a better place to live and to visit. Thank you in advance for electing me for city council.
David ‘Mac’ McElheran
Background: I am 43-years old and have a wife Michelle and a daughter Macy, age eight and a son, Gavin, age six. I worked in sales and service for seven years at Les Schwab Tire Center, prior to joining the US Border Patrol, 12 years ago. I started my career in southern New Mexico and we moved to Oroville in May 2008. Additionally, I have been very involved in several charity organizations, both as a law enforcement officer and private citizen.
Why do you want to be elected? If elected, I hope to find ways for small businesses to succeed in Oroville.
Important issues/concerns? We need open discussion between the people of Oroville, the businesses, and the Council/Chamber to find new and creative ways to implement those ideas. New ideas also require funding.
Another goal is to find someone in our community who is proficient at grant writing. There are a lot of great ideas that could improve our community, but without proper funding, those ideas can only go so far.
For Oroville to grow and thrive over the next few years, we need to support the existing small businesses, and find ways for new businesses to flourish. These businesses provide jobs for our citizens, promote tourism and improve the appearance and appeal of our great small town.
Oroville School District Position 2
Background: Nearly four years ago, my husband, Clint, and I moved here from Bellingham, Wash. Since that time we have put down our roots and made Oroville our home. We are proud parents of two children. My children are enrolled in the Oroville School District and attend classes from the Pre-K on up to the elementary grade levels.
Why do you want to be elected? I know and understand the concerns that most parents face today and empathize with your feelings. As my children are being educated, I have chosen to immerse myself in school issues. I have frequently volunteered and provided a helping hand when needed. I am passionate about the role education plays in the future of us all.
I have functioned, not only in our school system, but as the president on the board of Oroville Co-Op Preschool as well. I have valuable skills to offer to help our district face challenges relating to personnel issues, budget constraints and technology advances. I am acutely aware of and fully understand the value and needs for extracurricular activities and other programs to provide opportunities for our children. As a concerned and involved parent, my voice will help ensure a brighter future for our youth and the community of Oroville as a whole.
Together I know that we can achieve the mission of the school district, which is “To empower all students to reach their full potential.” Our community deserves thoughtful representation and strong leadership. As a School Board Member, I will bring strong leadership and fresh ideas, as well as collaborating with school and community members as we strive for the finest educational outcomes of our children.
I would like to elicit your support so that I can bring my passion, perspective and tenacity to the school board of Oroville School District. I am committed to asking the tough questions, expecting answers and making sure there are workable solutions. I will work diligently to put our community on a course, which will help parents, teachers, students and other residents to achieve a more efficient, progressive and excellent educational system.
Background: I am Kolo Moser and I live in Oroville with my wife Stacy and two children. and am seeking your support during the up coming school board election. This is the first public office I have sought, I have no political aspirations yet I believe in public service. I have served my Country as a Federal Law Enforcement Officer for the last 28 years where I have held several key leadership positions. I have experience in budgeting, staffing, building coalitions, planning, peer/employee development and labor relations. I also believe in giving back to the community. I volunteer at youth activities and am currently a board member for the North Central Washington Youth Football League, Oroville Youth Football Team President, head youth football coach and am look forward to volunteering again with Oroville Youth Wrestling.
Why do you want to be elected? I am running for school board so I can continue my service to the community. Oroville is located in one of the truly premier locations in Washington and our schools should reflect the same.
Important issues/concern? I am willing to work with faculty, students, parents, board members and legal council to do what is needed to ensure our children get the education they deserve and need. Thank you for your support.
Oroville School District Position 5
Background: I am 50-years-old and have four children: a daughter, age 30 and three sons ages 25, 14 and eight. Current school board president, Resolutions Committee member for WSSDA, Regional Director for NCW Association of Realtors, State Director for Washington Realtors, Planning Commissioner for City of Oroville for nearly 8 years. 5.5 years on State Building Code Council T.A.G.: farm worker housing signed into law under Governor Gary Locke under that position, allowing for building of farm working housing on Sawtells Road.
1.) After the closure of the Kinross-Kettle River Buckhorn mine shuts down its operations and following this summer’s wildfires, do you expect to see difficulties with future levies and bonds due to a possible decrease in property tax valuations?
The closure of the mine is of great concern to me. They represent 25 percent of the district’s assessed values and this will cause a tax burden shift to remaining tax payers. If we are unable to pass a levy our district will not qualify for levy equalization dollars resulting in a significant financial hardship for the district. This makes it imperative that we pass the levy to receive equalization dollars and avoid a significant budget shortfall.
2.) I would like to see the College in the Classroom program allow students to complete a AA degree. This would require state criteria to be passed allowing schools to use all the different credits from different schools to qualify for an AA. I’d also like to see better cooperation and communication between the public school and the needs of home school families and those pursuing alternative school programs within district boundaries.
3.) Although we have a lot of very involved parents that are of great assistance to the school and their children the need for more assistance is one of our more challenging concerns. Parents that help coach, volunteer in classrooms, chaperone field trips and events and are active in the day to day learning of our students at home greatly improves our student’s chances of success both in and out of the classroom.
Background: I am 29 and a graduate of Eastern Washington University: BAE in Education, Major in Social Studies
Why do you want to be elected? I am an educated person seeking an educational position to make educational decisions that can make a difference for our students in the Oroville School District.
Important issues/concerns? I will focus on as a School Board member are; 1. Bullying: I think we need to address this for students and staff in our school to make it a safer place so they can focus on education. 2. Transparency: I want to make communication with the Board easier for the students, staff and community so that they are well informed about our school decisions. 3. Alternative Schooling: I think Oroville needs an Alternative School to catch students that can fall through the cracks of normal public school systems, and I hope I can find like minded individuals to help get this going.
Oroville School District Position 1
Background: I grew up in Okanogan and have lived in Oroville since August of 2003. I have four amazing children in the Oroville School District ranging from elementary to high school. I have had the opportunity to view the Oroville School District through the eyes of a father as well as a police officer. I believe that the Oroville School District is one of the best in Okanogan County. Oroville School District has some of the most talented teachers and dedicated staff.
Why do you want to be elected? I am honored to represent the citizens of the Oroville School District and feel it is a privilege to be a part of the educational process of the students in the Oroville School District.
Important issues/concerns? School Districts all across Washington State are facing a funding crisis. The Washington State Legislature has been mandated by the Washington State Supreme Court to fully fund basic education. As a school board member I am partnering with the Washington State School Director’s Association and collectively we are speaking to our state representatives and senators urging them to fully fund basic education. These extra dollars coming from the state will help ensure the needs of the teaching staff are being met.
The Oroville School District is facing issues in the elementary school facility with outdated resources. The bathrooms in the north wing of the school are outdated and need to be remodeled. Our kitchen also needs to be remodeled and expanded. We are currently in the process of developing a committee to help with assessing the needs and putting together a levy for voter approval.
Finally we are working to update our curriculum to be used with the schools districts iPads. We have hired a curriculum director who has been working tirelessly to find the best curriculum for our school district.
Tonasket Parks & Recreation, Position 5
Background: I am 65-years old and have a wife, Catherine and daughter, Johanna. I retired Dec 31, 2014, having practiced medicine in Tonasket for over 34 years. I am a member of the Sitzmark Ski Club and served as president for several years during which time over $100,000 was raised to purchase additional land and a grooming machine and to clear new ski runs. I was active with the Tonasket Swim Team helping to set up for swim meets and serving as a starter.
Why do you want to be elected? I am running for Tonasket Parks & Recreation District Commissioner to raise awareness of the need for a Parks & Recreation District and the need to pass the Parks & Recreation District levy to provide the funds necessary to maintain and operate the new Tonasket Swimming Pool.
Important issues/concerns? The issue facing Tonasket that interests me most is the need for a community swimming pool. Until four years ago, the city swimming pool provided a place to learn to swim, swim team meets, water aerobic classes, lap swimming for exercise, fun summer recreation and jobs for young people. The pool was closed after 61 years of use as the expense of repairs and maintenance became prohibitive.
Recognizing that swimming is a critically important life skill and a fun physical activity, volunteers formed the Tonasket Swimming Pool Association over two years ago with a goal of building a new pool in Tonasket. They have worked diligently planning and fundraising and have pledges and donations totaling over $628,000. With the passage of the levy for maintenance and operation expenses, the association is optimistic the remaining funds will be raised to build the pool next spring.
The City of Tonasket is unable to fund the maintenance and operation of the pool, necessitating the formation of the Parks and Recreation District, which will be able to collect up to $15 annually per $100,000 taxable property valuation in the district to maintain and operate the pool. I look forward to serving as a new Parks & Recreation District Commissioner and to being involved in the maintenance and operation of the Tonasket Swimming Pool, an important asset for our children and the entire community.
Thank you for your vote and for supporting the creation and funding of a Parks and Recreation District.
Editor’s Note: Michael Ward originally filed for the same position on the Tonasket Parks and Rec. Board, he has since dropped out of the race. He said his name will appear on the ballot, but he will not serve if elected. He has thrown his support to Stangland. G.A.D.