After 10 years on the Pocatello/Chubbuck School District 25 Board of Trustees, Chairwoman Marianne Donnelly was defeated last nigh in her reelection bid. A 21-year-old upstart, Nate Murphy defeated Donnelly by nine votes. Incumbent Frank Rash easily won reelection by nearly a two-to-one margin over his challenger.
Why was Donnelly defeated? Could be a number of factors involved. Murphy had a shoes on the ground, knock on doors campaign and Donnelly seemed to think it was not needed. She has never faced an opponent for reelection. The College Neighborhood Assocationalso had a hand in this and I think that teachers may have played a role. There are many teachers who reside in her zone and they have long memories. Donnelly was one of two board members who voted for a larger pay cut last year and teachers haven’t forgotten that. It is also apparent to anyone paying attention that Donnelly will never vary from supporting every proclamation and utterance of Superintendent Mary Vagner and Business Manager Bart Reed (who some at Poleline Rd. call the c0-superintendent). Strange, for a person who proclaimed herself Idaho’s only elected socialist to continuously side with management over labor.
How will things work out? It depends upon Mr. Murphy. He is inexperienced and this is a difficult job. He will learn. Hopefully he will serve the people in his district and not just parrot the Vagner/Reed/Smart line. After all, all of the board members came to the job without any experience. Murphy seems an intelligent young man and he will learn.
This outcome might serve as a caution for Janie Gephardt, the other board member who sought to further cut employees salaries and who also has rubber-stamped everything handed to the board by the Administration. I believe there are even more district employees in her zone than in Donnelly’s and I know they are watching. Unless I’m mistaken she will be up for re-election next year.