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Nine Republicans vying for State Board vacancy

Nine candidates have applied for the 3rd District vacancy on the State Board of Education created when board chair Marcia Neal announced her resignation.

Frieda Wallison, chair of the GOP 3rd District Central Committee, announced the candidate list Thursday after the deadline for applications closed.

The hopefuls include six applicants who surfaced earlier (see this Chalkbeat Colorado story) plus three additional names.

The new candidates include:

  • Andy Burns of Durango, director of admissions at Fort Lewis College and a member of the Durango school board
  • Joyce Rankin of Carbondale, a former teacher and principal who currently works as legislative aide to her husband, GOP state Rep. Bob Rankin
  • Bryan Whiting of Garfield County, a recently retired high school teacher who worked for 33 years at Glenwood Springs High School

The other six applicants, who confirmed their interest earlier to Chalkbeat, include:

  • Jake Aubert, principal of Holy Family Catholic High School in Grand Junction
  • Roger Good, a businessman who serves on the Steamboat Springs school board
  • Michael Lobato, a San Luis Valley rancher and member of the Center School board
  • Debbie Rose, a Beulah businesswoman who formerly served on the Pueblo 70 school board
  • Barbara Ann Smith, a retired teacher from Grand Junction who lost to Neal in the 2014 primary for the State Board seat
  • Anita Stapleton, an anti-Common Core activist from Pueblo

Wallison also announced the members of the vacancy committee, who were chosen based on party rules. They are:

  • U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton
  • Linda Sorenson of Delta County, vice chair of the 3rd District central committee
  • Jennifer Woolley of Eagle County, secretary of the central committee
  • Kraig Andrews of Mesa County, representing the state GOP executive committee
  • Marilyn Harris of Archuleta County, representing the Colorado Federation of Republican Women
  • Ruth Ehlers, representing Mesa County Republicans
  • Normagene Ricci, representing Pueblo County Republicans
  • Brandi Meek of Moffat County, representing four northwestern counties
  • Dave Merritt of Garfield County, representing four counties in the central mountains
  • Dave Laursen of Montrose County, representing six counties in the northern San Juan Mountains
  • Travis Oliger of La Plata County, representing four counties in southwestern Colorado
  • Dennis Hoyt of Huerfano County, representing nine counties around the San Luis Valley
  • Wallison of Snowmass, chair of the vacancy committee

The committee is expected to meet this month, but a date and location haven’t been chosen. The panel expects to interview all candidates and take a vote at that meeting.

There could be multiple ballots, given that state law requires the winner to be selected by a majority of committee members present and voting.

Neal’s resignation is effective July 31. The State Board doesn’t meet this month, so the new member is expected to be sworn in at the group’s August meeting. A new board chair and vice chair also will be elected. The board’s other members include three Democrats and three Republicans, so Neal’s replacement will maintain the 4-3 GOP majority.

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