Incumbents cruise to victory in Mitchell Board of Education raceIn the four-way race for two seats on the Mitchell Board of Education, incumbents Neil Putnam and Theresa Kriese received nearly 80 percent of the votes Tuesday and will be sworn in for three-year terms in July.
By: Ross Dolan, The Daily Republic
In the four-way race for two seats on the Mitchell Board of Education, incumbents Neil Putnam and Theresa Kriese received nearly 80 percent of the votes Tuesday and will be sworn in for three-year terms in July.
Putnam, who was voted into a fifth term on the board, was the top vote-getter with 3,389 votes (39 percent). Kriese was next with 3,275 (38 percent).
Challenger Craig Guymon received 990 votes (12 percent); and fellow challenger Ed Potzler received 933 votes (11 percent).
“I’m very humbled and honored for the confidence the voters have shown me, and I’ll do my best to earn their respect as their ambassador and their advocate,” said Putnam, 46, who works as city planner for the city of Mitchell. “I’ll do my best to represent them well.”
The first order of business, he said, will be to tackle next year’s budget.
“There is also a lot of curiosity about the new common core directives and how they will be implemented,” he said, referring to upcoming curriculum standards.
“I’d like to thank all those who helped,” Putnam said. “I’m very grateful to live in this wonderful community.”
Kriese, 49, the vice president for business and institutional advancement at Dakota Wesleyan University, took her second-term win calmly.
“I’m very pleased with the result and want to thank everyone who came out to vote,” she said. “I appreciate the confidence the voters have shown me.”
Kriese feels the district’s biggest challenge during her next term will continue to be the uncertainty of state funding.
A proposed extra percent state sales tax earmarked for education and Medicaid will be a major issue on the November ballot, she said, but Kriese declined to give her opinion on the measure at this time.
Ed Potzler, 63, a retired software engineer, said he succeeded in his major goal.
“The reason I ran was to give voters a choice, and I succeeded in that,” he said. “It will be the students who will either benefit or not from the decision of the voters. That’s the democratic process.”
Potzler said he plans to stay involved as a taxpayer. “But the voters have decided the course they want to take.”
It was Craig Guymon’s fourth try for a seat on the board.
His antipathy toward Superintendent Joe Graves has been a consistent plank in his platform.
“I’ve always had one issue: There’s me, an ‘Honest Joe,’ and then there’s the other Joe, who’s a politician.”
Guymon, 53, who co-owns an insurance agency, said he was comforted by the fact that at least 990 voters felt the way he did about the issues.
Guymon said he thinks more votes should have been cast in the school board race and he is considering asking the auditor for a recount.
“We’re missing some votes somewhere,” he said.
At a recent political forum, Guymon told his fellow candidates that he wouldn’t be running again.
He’s re-thinking that.
“We’ll see how busy I am. I might do it again — that’s my prerogative,” he said.