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Washington Voices

School seats contested in Freeman, Liberty

Thu., Oct. 15, 2009

The Freeman and Liberty School Districts are a mix of contested and uncontested races in the ballots being mailed out this week for the November election.

In Freeman the field was narrowed to two in the race for the seat left vacant by the resignation of Vicki Sellers. John Zingg and Allen Crist advanced from the primary election. Incumbents Chad Goldsmith and Diane Woodman are running unopposed for re-election.

In Liberty incumbents Marci Green and Grant Collins are running unopposed while incumbent Ron Cockle faces challenger Chad Cornmesser.

After several attempts, Freeman passed a bond issue last year and is in the midst of an extensive remodel of the high school. When that project is complete in August, a similar project will revitalize the district’s elementary school. Zinng has volunteered extensively in the district even through he has no children, while Crist has three children in the district.

It is fairly unusual for there to be competition for school board seats in small communities like Freeman and Spangle. In the Liberty District Cornmesser said he was running against Cockle simply because he wanted to have a chance to serve before his youngest child graduated from high school. The two candidates are actually friends.

In a previous interview Cockle said he was proud of being involved in the hiring of a new superintendent and high school principal as well as paving the school parking lots and improving the athletic fields. He did not respond to a more recent request to provide a statement.

John Zingg – Freeman District 1

Personal: Zingg, 71, is a retired business owner who also worked in international business development in Czechoslovakia for several years. He and his wife Debra have been married for 19 years. He has no children.

Statement: An active and consistent volunteer for the Freeman School District, I co-chaired the successful Capital Improvements Bond in 2007. I am a member of the high school and elementary construction committees and attend all school board meetings. I am a retired professional who divides my time as a volunteer between the American Red Cross and the Freeman School District. I am a patron of this district with no connection to students, faculty or staff.

I am running for school board for following three reasons: To ensure that we move forward with the school modernization projects and continue the excellent cooperation among the school board, school administration and the patrons of our district. I feel it is my responsibility to give something to help make it a better place to live. I feel very fortunate that I have the time and ability to translate a lifetime of experience to such a worthy effort. I believe that one of the most important tasks before us as citizens of this country is to see that our children receive the best possible education in a safe, secure and supportive environment. Without this the very future of our society and culture is problematic.

I believe the most important issues facing Freeman include: The ongoing oversight of existing school modernization projects and that the school keeps the promises made during the bond campaign; school funding; and open, honest communication and cooperation among the school board, school administration and the patrons of Freeman School District.

Allen Crist – Freeman District 1

Personal: Crist, 37, is a pharmacy manager for Rite Aid. He and his wife Tracy have been married eight years and have three children.

Statement: I was born and raised in the Freeman community. I attended WSU and graduated with a pharmacy degree. Currently I am a pharmacy manager at a local Rite Aid which I have been at for 15 years. I see serving on the school board as an opportunity to give back to the community that has given so much to me.

I served on the bond committee to be part of a project that was necessary for our children’s educational process. I moved back to the area to give my three children the same great opportunity I had by attending a school that has excellent academics and extracurricular events that make such a well rounded student. Serving on the school board would allow me to continue to help insure that the great tradition of the Freeman School District will continue not only for my children but for the other children in the Freeman community.

Ron Cockle – Liberty District 3

Personal: Cockle, 43, is the owner of Cockle Custom Welding in Spangle. He and his wife Marcy have been married 19 years and have two children. He has served one term on the school board.

Statement: Cockle did not respond.

Chad Cornmesser – Liberty District 3

Personal: Cornmesser, 40, is a farmer and cattle rancher. He and his wife Yvette have been married for 19 years and have two children.

Statement: I’ve lived in the community basically all my life, 40 years. I have two daughters currently attending Liberty School. Kristina is a junior and Macy is in the eighth grade. I’ve also been involved with the Liberty School District for 19 years through coaching all sports from baseball, football, boys and girls basketball and a boys and girls AAU teams.

My goal is to make Liberty School District a place where students want to attend and parents want to support the school. Growing up in Spangle and attending Liberty had an advantage for me because of the small community atmosphere and the small classroom sizes. My school experience at Liberty was invaluable and that’s what I want for my own children as well.

I’m a third-generation farmer who understands the meaning of paying taxes and am willing to work with people in the district to make Liberty School a better place for all students to succeed.

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