Boise trustee election starts heating up

Boise School Board elections are historically low-key affairs, as Travis Jones points out in a recent campaign email.

Travis Jones
Travis Jones

But Jones also came out with a few jabs in that same email, labeling his opponent, former state Rep. Brian Cronin, as a candidate “who represents the status quo.”

Writes Jones: “The main reason I’m running for this position is because I believe I can be a strong and capable representative of the majority: the people, parents, and taxpayers who invest in Boise’s public schools but have little or no knowledge of, or input into, the district’s activities, decisions, and policies in governing a $200 million budget, 3,900 employees and nearly 26,000 students.”

Jones, a former aide to U.S. Sen. Larry Craig, is executive director of the Idaho Grain Producers Association. Cronin, a Boise Democrat, served four years in the Legislature, and worked in 2012 on the successful campaign to overturn Propositions 1, 2 and 3. He now works in the Boise office of Strategies 360, a public affairs firm.

Brian Cronin
Brian Cronin

Jones and Cronin are vying for a two-year School Board seat. Incumbent Shauneen Grange, appointed in February 2013, is not seeking re-election.

Here’s a link to Cronin’s announcement. And here is Jones’ message, in full:

After a significant internal (and external) debate, I have decided to step out of my comfort zone and run for a two-year position on the Boise School Board. Did you even know there is an upcoming election for these positions? Don’t worry … most people have no idea.

The good news is the campaign is short … two months! The bad news is … the campaign is short. Election Day is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 2, and I need all the help I can get.

So “Why the Boise School Board?” you might ask.  I would respond with, “Why not?” 

The main reason I’m running for this position is because I believe I can be a strong and capable representative of the majority: the people, parents, and taxpayers who invest in Boise’s public schools but have little or no knowledge of, or input into, the district’s activities, decisions, and policies in governing a $200 million budget, 3,900 employees and nearly 26,000 students. 

I grew up on a farm and ranch in a rural community and quickly learned the values of hard work, responsibility, accountability, communication and respect. This indoctrination has served me well both personally and professionally. I have spent my professional career understanding how government works, how to collaborate with people of all strips and how to do the dirty work it takes to solve problems. If elected, I will apply these values and ethics to my work on the Boise School Board. 

As a father to a 6-year-old entering the first grade at Liberty Elementary, I was only vaguely aware of the activities of Boise’s public school system. Although I am heavily engaged in the community, I have never received information or any general communications from the district. I believe it’s time to open the curtains to shed a little light on things.    

I have an uphill battle against an opponent who represents the status quo. Winning this election will take an unprecedented turnout of voters and support. I hope to count on you to overcome the odds. I will do my part to make you proud!