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Election Results Point to Future Changes

The May 16 Special Election resulted in significant changes to our local school boards. Here are the official election results for races in Josephine County.

Grants Pass School District

Voters elected four new school board members to Grants Pass School District 7.

Position 1: Challenger Dustin Smith defeated incumbent Scott Nelson.

Dustin Smith: 4,102 (54.57%)

Scott Nelson 3,383 (45%)

Position 2: In an open seat, Chad Dybdahl defeated Greg Fishwisk and Drew Rees.

Chad Dybdahl : 3,958 votes (51.85%)

Greg Fishwick: 2,682 (35.13%)

Drew Rees: 980 (12.84%)

Position 6: In an open seat, Nathan Seable defeated challenger Juliet Long.

Nathan Seable: 4,350 (57.30%)

Juliet Long: 3,224 (42.47%)

Position 7: In an open seat, Joe Schmidt defeated Kari Bassett and Frank Boothby.

Joe Schmidt: 3,829 (50.72%)

Kari Bassett: 1,987 (26.32%)

Frank Boothby: 1,721 (22.80%)

As of July 1, the newly constituted school board will have only one board member, Debbie Brownell, who supported the superintendent’s termination of two educators in 2021 who advocated school bathrooms be segregated by biological sex. The two were later reinstated by the school board.

School Board Member Gary Richardson commented on the new board and what’s ahead. “We are entering an unprecedented time. No one can remember a time when a new board consisted of enough new members that the new members could vote to implement policy changes without any votes from previous board members. As with many things in government and our constitution there are checks and balances. It will take some time for the new board members to understand what they are allowed to do and what things are driven by others. As for what lies ahead, my speculation would be that there will be increased focus on transparency for parents as part of our policies.”

The four new board members were endorsed by the Josephine County Republican Party.

Three Rivers School District

Two challengers defeated incumbent board members on the Three Rivers School District school board.

Zone 2: Challenger Patrick Kelly defeated incumbent Susan Fischer-Maki.

Patrick Kelly: 5,972 (57.14%)

Susan Fischer-Maki: 4,446 (42.54%)

Kelly received an additional 84 votes while Fischer-Maki received 152 votes from voters residing in Jackson County.

Zone 4: Challenger Nancy Reese defeated incumbent board member Jamie Wright.

Nancy Reese: 5,722 (54.98%)

Jamie Wright: 4,660 (44.78%)

Reese received an additional 75 votes while Wright received 156 votes from voters residing in Jackson County.

Kelly and Reese were endorsed by the Josephine County Republican Party.

Rogue Community College District

Challenger Indra Nicholas defeated incumbent Claudia Sullivan and challenger Larry West in the race for Zone 1 director.

Indra Nicholas: 4,503 (53.22%)

Claudia Sullivan: 3,545 (41.90%)

Larry West: 391 (4.62%)

Nicholas was endorsed by the Josephine County Republican Party.

Josephine Community Library District

Position 3: Incumbent Pat Fahey defeated challenger Paul Schaafsma.

Pat Fahey: 5,021 (60.01%)

Paul Schaafsma: 3,339 (39.91%)

Position 4: Incumbent Gina Marie Agosta defeated challenger Heidi Napier.

Gina Marie Agosta: 4,278 (51.47%)

Heidi Napier: 4,022 (48.39%)

Position 5: In an open seat, Tina Gotchall defeated Mike Pelfrey.

Tina Gotchall: 4,543 (54.90)

Mike Pelfrey: 3,708 (44.81%)

The three elected candidates were supported by the Libraries for Our Community PAC. The other candidates were endorsed by the Josephine County Republican Party.

Voter Turnout

In Josephine County, 18,453 ballots were cast out of 69,619 eligible voters, resulting in total voter turnout of 26.51%.

In Jackson County, 36,518 ballots were cast out of 158,840 total registered voters for a total voter turnout of 22.99%.

Richard Emmons is the Publisher and Editor of the Josephine County Eagle.