Oppenheimer, Wagers win Boise trustee races

Incumbent trustee David Wagers and early education advocate Beth Oppenheimer won Boise School Board seats in Tuesday’s elections.

Boise trustee election 2016
David Wagers and Beth Oppenheimer will be sworn in at Monday’s school board meeting.

Oppenheimer had 3,562 votes and Wagers had 3,374 votes. Monica Walker finished third with 2,274 votes.

Only 4.8 percent of registered voters cast ballots Tuesday — down from the 6.3 percent turnout in 2014’s Boise trustee elections.

Oppenheimer and Wagers were elected to six-year terms, and will be sworn in at Monday’s School Board meeting.

Wagers, president of Idaho Candy Co., was the lone incumbent in the field, but this was his first race for school board. He was appointed to the board in January 2015.

Oppenheimer, executive director of the Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children, has been one of the state’s most visible advocates for pre-kindergarten.

The race leading up to Tuesday’s election was a decidedly cordial campaign. During an Aug. 25 Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce forum, the three candidates went out of their way to say the district would be well-served, regardless of the election results.

But the candidates took different approaches to campaigning, with the two challengers securing some big-name endorsements and contributions.

Walker, a senior loan officer, touted her union background during the campaign and received an endorsement from the Boise Education Association, the district’s teachers union. She also secured endorsements from Boise Mayor Dave Bieter, several Boise City Council members, and several Democratic legislators from Boise.

Oppenheimer received similar support from legislators and City Council members. Her supporters also included former Gov. Cecil Andrus and former Boise district Superintendent Stan Olson.

Both Walker and Oppenheimer secured several thousands of dollars in donations for Tuesday’s election. Wagers, meanwhile, ran a deliberately grassroots campaign, reporting less than $100 in donations in his Aug. 30 finance report. Like Walker, Wagers received the BEA’s endorsement.

Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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