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Farmington voters elect Beem, Singewald and Cordes to ISD 192 school board

Laura Beem received the most votes in Tuesday's ISD 192 board of education election, followed by incumbent Julie Singewald and Jake Cordes.

Farmington voters were guaranteed two new school board members when they went to the polls, Tuesday, and when they votes were all counted that's exactly what they got. But voters also showed a desire to keep at least one familiar face around.

Laura Beem, a newcomer who was vocal two years ago in a push to keep class sizes small in district schools, was the big winner in Tuesday's election. She led all candidates with 6,387 votes. She will be joined on the board by Julie Singewald, the only incumbent in the race, and Jake Cordes.

Beem, who also served as a member of North Trail Elementary School's parent-teacher partnership, including two years as president, and has served on district committees, said running for school board made sense for her.

"I've been involved with the schools for several years," she said. "This seemed like a natural next step. I thought I had something to offer the district with my financial background."

An accounting manager in her professional life, she got into this year's race with an eye toward helping the district through what she expects will be difficult financial times.

Singewald said Tuesday night she relied on her record over the past four years to convince voters she deserved another term on the board, and apparently the strategy worked. She finished second with 6,200 votes.

Singewald didn't spend a lot of time knocking on doors and introducing herself to voters.

"I was basically looking at this campaign saying I was hoping my actions the last four years would be the best example for what I would do in the next four years," Singewald said.

Singewald, too, pointed to the budget as the board's biggest challenge over the next four years. The district is currently in the process of identifying priorities in expectation of a more than $1 million budget shortfall next year.

Cordes, a Farmington High School graduate who grew up in the city, has the longest life experience with the district, but otherwise the newest of the newcomers. He a little more than a month before he earns his college degree in leadership and management.

He received 4,560 votes to finish third.

"I've always been interested in politics and it's something I?wanted to do," Cordes said. "I never expected to do it this early, but a couple months ago when I?got encouragement from my family and friends I decided to get involved a little earlier than most people would."

Cordes and Beem have both been invited to take part in a school board budget discussion this weekend.

"I can't wait to get involved,"?Cordes said.

The other candidates in Tuesday's school board election were Eric Bartosh (4,044 votes), John Guist (3,873), Rob Carpentier (3,401) and Anthony MacDonald, who received 2,193 votes despite withdrawing from the race several weeks ago.

There were also 147 write-in votes.

Singewald said she is happy to win a second term on the board, and she is confident the board is in good hands as it moves forward. The candidates expressed similar positions on several issues at a forum hosted by the North Trail Elementary School Parent Teacher Partnership.

"I didn't feel like the district could have gone wrong by selecting any of these candidates," she said.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

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