Chamber endorses three for school board who will ‘give best voice to business’

John Williams

School board candidate Tom Parrish

School board candidate John Sluder

The Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce has endorsed three candidates for the upcoming District 51 school board elections. They are John Williams, Tom Parrish and John Sluder.

Diane Schwenke, president and chief executive officer of the chamber, said the three candidates were chosen because the chamber’s board members believed they “could give the best voice to business.”

Seven candidates are vying for three open seats on the school board. Pat Kanda, Lonnie White and Williams are running for District C; Mike Lowenstein and Parrish are running for District D; and Greg Mikolai and Sluder are running in District E. Board members serve four-year, unpaid terms on the board.

Schwenke said the chamber has endorsed school board candidates for the past few years. She said board members gathered information on candidates from interviewing all candidates except Lonnie White, who declined an interview.

Schwenke said the chamber board members looked beyond several campaigns aimed at getting voters to vote three candidates in as a bloc. For example, Mesa County Republican Women endorsed school board candidates Pat Kanda, Mike Lowenstein and John Sluder last month after interviewing those three candidates. Other candidates said they were not interviewed in that process. Several groups have endorsed candidates including one that asks voters to elect Williams, Mikolai and Parrish.

Schwenke said the chamber is not spending money to support their endorsed candidates.

Students in School District 51 represent the future workforce, one reason why the chamber weighs in, she said.

“I think the board really applauds the fact that seven people have run for three seats,” Schwenke said. “This is really community service for them to put their names in the hat.”

Mail-in ballots will go out Tuesday for the Nov. 5 election. Polling centers will open Oct. 28.


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