A legal background can serve a school board member well.

Kevin Smolkowski, who has a law degree, believes this and says it is a reason why he is running to remain on the Elgin School Board.

Smolkowski, a 1989 graduate of the University of Oregon Law School, grew up in the Grande Ronde Valley and is completing his fifth year on the Elgin School Board.

“A law background helps you as a school board member because you often review policies and procedures to make sure they are
legal,” he said.

Smolkowski, a candidate for Position 4 on the Elgin School Board, is running against Rod Spikes in the May 21 mail election. Smolkowski currently holds Position 2 on the school board but cannot run for reelection for his current seat because he is in the process of moving inside the Elgin city limits.

Position 2 is open to people who live in the Elgin School District but outside Elgin’s city limits, while Position 4 is open only to people living within the city limits.

Smolkowski previously worked for the Internal Revenue Service as a staff attorney and now is an executive adviser for CVS, a national drug store company. He grew up in La Grande and has lived in the Grande Ronde Valley most of his life. Smolkowski is a 1981 graduate of
La Grande High School and graduated from what is now Eastern Oregon University in 1986 with a degree in history.

He believes one of the Elgin School District’s strengths is how much its staff reaches out to

“(They are) so caring and supportive,” Smolkowski said.

Read the full story in Monday's edition of The Observer.