Wenatchee School Board Member leaving After 2 Years
Incumbent Wenatchee School Board member Katherine Thomas is noteworthy for declining to run for reelection this year.
Thomas was one of three candidates endorsed by the Republican Party in 2021, even though the elections are nonpartisan.
She was a vocal opponent of COVID-19 restrictions which were in place at the time and said the state and federal government should have less control over local schools.
Thomas lives in what is now the geographically bounded District 2, and would have faced fellow incumbent Maria Iñiguez, who filed to run for reelection last week.
A new arrangement divides four of the five districts into separate geographic areas and puts all five seats up for grabs.
The School Board scrapped its at-large voting system after finding it may violate the Washington Voting Rights Act last year.
It voted unanimously to make the change, although Thomas and Julie Norton later complained about having to run for reelection two years after winning their races.
Norton, who was also endorsed by the Republican Party in 2021, is now running unopposed in District 1.
Thomas attended a school board meeting in August of 2021, before her election, along with 50 other maskless audience members. The meeting was eventually moved online after the board twice went into recess.
There was another development in this year’s school board race as the four-way competition for the district 4 seat lost a candidate when Quinton Martin withdrew Monday.
The now three-way race between Joe Cortez, Miranda Skalisky, and Kendra Martin will move to the August primary, as will the at-large District 5 race between incumbent Martin Barron and newcomers Tricia Cleek and John LaCasse.
Skalinsky ran in the 2021 election, losing to Norton.
The other two races have two or fewer candidates and will bypass the primary and move to November's general election contest.
Board President Iñiguez will be facing Randy Smith for the District 2 seat, and newcomer Tucker Jackson is running unopposed for the district 3 seat.
Randy Smith is known for the Wenatchee Valley Cross, which sits on top hills in Wenatchee Heights and is 110 feet tall with 150 10-watt LED lights. It’s part of a Christian ministry effort.
Incumbent school board member Laura Jaecks announced in April she would not run for re-election after 20 years on the board. Jaecks, like Thomas lives in what is now district 2 and would also be facing Iñiguez.