Top players in North Clackamas school board election not on ballot
Two of the most important figures in the future of the North Clackamas School Board are not on the May 18 ballot.
North Clackamas School Board Chair Libra Forde and former state Rep. Patrick Sheehan, R-Happy Valley, were on opposite sides of the 2019 naming of the district's new high school after Adrienne C. Nelson, the first Black woman to become an Oregon Supreme Court justice. Forde and Sheehan are now associated with two opposing slates of candidates vying for three spots on the school board.
Forde has endorsed North Clackamas School Board member Kathy Wai's reelection and cautioned voters against choosing candidates solely based on their promise to reopen schools full time.
"It takes many different skill sets to deal with the diversity and the ever-changing dynamic environment of advocating and working on behalf of children," Forde said.
Wai has been endorsed by the North Clackamas Education Association, the teachers union also supporting reelection campaigns of board members Mitzi Bauer and Tory McVay. Meanwhile, Sheehan has set up a website for three candidates seeking to unseat incumbents, based on the promise to return students back to five full days a week of in-person instruction.
According to state finance records, Sheehan's Oregon Progressives for Accountability political action committee has set up a website and printed door hangers for three challenger candidates, Kori Haynes, Don McInnis and Tara Nelson. Sheehan's website promoting the challengers called the incumbents "harmful progressives."
Haynes, who is running against Wai, said she was "shocked" to see the incumbent's endorsements from the same unions who "have stood in the way of full reopening."
"Not only does my incumbent opponent have no children in the district, she is a government employee union member herself," Haynes wrote in the Voters' Pamphlet. "It's time to replace these board members with parents who will prioritize our children."
Haynes, who describes herself as a business owner in the Voters' Pamphlet, does not have a registered business, according to state records. Haynes filed for the election in March claiming she was a business owner, but has now posted on her website that the business will "go live at the end of April."
Wai, who works for the Oregon secretary of state's office, has written that she supports "safe return to school using data-informed approaches to protect staff, teachers and community." Wai's opponent when she was first elected four years ago also complained that she doesn't have children in the district.
This story has been updated from its original version online to indicate Sheehan's Crazy Fingers Design Group has printed door hangers, not created marketing videos, for three candidates.
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