Swanson, David ready to get back to work | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Swanson, David ready to get back to work

William Ferchland

A day after all 22 precincts reported Angela Swanson and Wendy David apparently captured enough votes to be elected to the Lake Tahoe Unified School District Board of Education, both women looked forward to tackling challenges involving finance and alternative education.

Swanson, an education consultant who has worked with the district in subcommittees, cited the interim budget as an immediate interest. David, the lone incumbent of the race, said she would like to look at student academic achievement.

“I am excited and relieved,” David said with a laugh. “I think there is a lot of work still to be done and I’m excited to move forward with our plan for the future.”

“I feel absolutely wonderful, relieved, glad it’s done, excited to get to work,” Swanson said. “I feel so good about what the board has been doing.”

Early results had a neck-and-neck race between Swanson and retired teacher John Nemes for the second seat. One margin was seven votes while another was eight before all precincts reported and Swanson leapt ahead of David to receive the most votes at 2,403.

But the race remained close Wednesday. Approximately 208 votes separated David, who received 2,327 votes, from Nemes, who came in third with 2,119.

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Rolf Hermann “Ralph” Mayer came in fourth with 434 votes.

Registrar of Voters Bill Schultz said more than 6,500 absentee and provisional votes remain outstanding county wide. They should be counted within a week, he said.

In her past two elections, David had the most votes. David wasn’t concerned with coming in second.

“It doesn’t matter. I’m just happy to be in the job,” she said. “One or two is fine. Three would have been unacceptable.”

Both women returned to work following an election night where results from the Tahoe precincts flashed on the county’s Web site at 11:33 p.m.

After debating whether she wanted to seek another term, David hit the campaign trail hard.

“I had been told that it is more difficult for anyone to get elected to a third term,” she said.

With board member Madeline Fernald not deciding to run, the board’s dynamics will change with at least one new member joining.

“I think when you have a new person it brings new energy,” board member Sue Novasel said Tuesday night.

David has been a part of four different boards. She noted the dynamics change with a new member but said Swanson’s experience with the district and in education is an asset.

“I think her energy, her passion and her knowledge that she brings to the board will be a wonderful addition,” David said. “Her learning curve is going to be very short. She has spent a lot of time learning about the district and contributing.”

Swanson said she’s going to enter the board cautiously in December.

“They don’t need me charging in to save the day,” she said.

Carol Murdock, president of the South Tahoe Educators Association, commented on David bringing continuity to the board while Swanson could provide fresh ideas.

The association decided not to endorse a candidate, including Nemes, who worked in the district for 32 teachers, for the first time in a long time.

Typically, the association’s political action committee interviews candidates and takes the recommendations to its board and membership.

“The teachers decided they didn’t want to endorse anyone at this time,” said Mike Patterson, chair of the political action committee.

The race for the two school board seats was devoid of mudslinging that frequently occurs in political campaigns. Candidates sometimes agreed with each other’s points or disagreed without argument.

“It was a great experience, win or lose,” Swanson said. “I was delighted to be in the company of the people I ran for board with. The campaign was run with dignity and mutual respect which was nice. It never got personal in any way. To put yourself through something like this was a great experience.”