Opinion

School board race: Bronson-Doherty vs. Castellar

The two candidates for position 3 on the Federal Way School Board provide the community an interesting contrast.

In one corner, you have first-term incumbent Evelyn Castellar, whom supporters say brings an undeniable passion for improving children’s educational opportunities.

But as an incumbent, she also shares in some of the controversy that has shadowed the board and its deliberations.

She is endorsed by many local political leaders such as State Rep. Skip Priest, (R-District 30), King County Council member Pete von Reichbauer (R), and City Council members Linda Kochmar and Jim Ferrell. She has also been endorsed by several business leaders and school district staff.

Castellar wants to provide excellent education to all students by continuing to offer an array of choices for the school district’s diverse student needs.

She wants to work with other groups to ensure a safe and productive environment and continue the fight for equitable funding.

And while she is active in Republican politics and has been endorsed by the 30th District Republicans, she does not plan to use the endorsement, as she feels it would be inappropriate in a non-partisan race. She believes special interest groups undercut democracy.

She believes each middle school should have a community center, funded by city government, where students can go to access social services, and she would like additional city resources for athletics.

While Castellar has not been one of the more outspoken board members, she has not escaped controversy. Her humanitarian trips to Honduras cause her to miss some board meetings each year — and have caused frustration among some of her colleagues.

In the other corner, you have first-time candidate Amye Bronson-Doherty.

Her supporters describe her as an up-and-comer who could be a future board leader who would work diplomatically to avoid board missteps.

Bronson-Doherty advocates building partnerships with parents, community groups and City Hall to achieve overall community goals.

She also supports fair funding for schools and would like to see resources used for additional staff training. Her overall goal is to ensure a quality education for all students.

She has been involved in school activities at Lakota Middle School and has children in the Federal Way school system.

She has been endorsed by the Federal Way Education Association (teachers) and several community leaders including Anne Gintz, Jennifer Dovey and Teri Hickel. She has also been endorsed by former school board member Gail Pierson.

She was approached about an endorsement from the 30th District Democrats but declined, believing an endorsement by a partisan political organization would be inappropriate.

Both Castellar and Bronson-Doherty plan low-budget campaigns. Bronson-Doherty has several signs though the community to help her name recognition and will produce a handout flyer about her campaign.

Castellar has signs, is handing out a business card noting her platform, and will produce some T-shirts. She has already run some ads in The Mirror and had an in-kind contribution for a small flier in the money mailer.

Castellar is planning a budget of approximately $3,500 and will finance her own campaign.

Bronson-Doherty, with less name familiarity than the incumbent, is planning a slightly higher budget and will also do some newspaper ads.

This is a truly interesting race between a well-known, although somewhat controversial, incumbent who has gained experience and wants to put that experience to good use, and a well-spoken hard-working challenger with the potential to be an outstanding board member.

Based on name familiarity, Castellar would appear to have the edge. Experience vs. potential. Known commodity vs. unknown.

A very interesting race indeed. Voters, do your homework.

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner, a former mayor of Auburn, can be reached at bjroegner@comcast.net.

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