LG has strong slate of school candidatesof school candidates

February 27, 2001 12:00 am

Voters in the La Grande School District couldnt go wrong with any of the five candidates whose names appear in contested races on the March 13 ballot. Steve Joseph, Jim Mollerstrom and Boyd Rasmussen are candidates to replace retiring Pasco Arritola for Position 4. Shari Bennett, the incumbent, is being challenged by Janine Robinson for the Position 5 seat.

All five of the candidates impressed The Observers editorial board as having the best interests of our children, our community and our schools at heart. Of the five, The Observer

recommends Bennett and Mollerstrom.

Bennett has made the La Grande schools her passion for 12 years. She cares about kids and the quality of their education.

Her opponent, Robinson, seems just as sincere and motivated, but Bennett has a track record of dedication that is difficult to ignore. And unlike some people who have put in a lot of years in a particular office, she has not lost sight of why she wants to serve on the school board: I know and care a lot about kids and schools.

Bennett has shown shes not afraid to tackle the controversial issues and speak her mind, and as long as her motivation remains the quality of schools, that voice is an important one to have on the school board. Shes deserving of a fourth term.

Of the three candidates for Position 4, Mollerstrom stands out as the best prepared.

Mollerstrom has an extensive background in youth-related service. Professionally, hes been a social services specialist with Oregons Services to Children and Families. Hes also been involved in youth corrections, serving in various counseling and leadership positions with the Hilgard Work Study Center west of La Grande and the Hillcrest School in Salem. He currently provides consultant services for juvenile justice and youth development programs.

As a volunteer in La Grande, hes been involved in girls basketball, AAU sixth-grade basketball, the Union County Youth Soccer Association (U-13) and been a coach for the Little Leagues junior girls fast-pitch softball program.

Hes shown an active interest in La Grande schools, serving on the districts budget committee, a member of the La Grande Middle Schools site council and a board member of the La Grande Education Foundation. Hes also a community representative for the school districts strategic design program.

Mollerstrom said one of his goals as a board member would be try to get students connected to the schools and the community. Mollerstrom already has demonstrated hes been willing to become deeply connected to our schools.

Voters should give Mollerstrom the chance to lend his insight and experience to the school board by electing him to Position 4.