City elected positions will be contested in Grangeville, Kooskia, Riggins and White Bird in the Nov. 5 elections, as will trustee positions fo…
Two Kooskia residents will face each other for the position of trustee in zone 1 for the Mountain View School District 244 board, zone 4. Incumbent Mike Dominguez will face challenger Pam Reidlen in the Nov. 5 election.
Mike Dominguez has served on the MVSD 244 school board for the past six years, two of which he served as chairman.
Dominguez attended high school in Asotin, Wash., graduating in 1987. He attended LCSC, then enlisted in the Navy, serving on the USS Nimitz in aviation support. After being honorably discharged in 1991, he went to work for Guy Bennett Lumber in Clarkston, Wash. In 1993, he began working for the US Postal Service and took a deferred retirement in 2007 to grow his new business, 5 Star Forestry, LLC, which he created in 2005.
“I started planting trees in Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina wiped out the pine plantations,” he explained.
In 2007, he and his family moved to Kooskia, where his wife, Lisa Loughran, was born and raised.
“In 2010, I focused all my work to the Pacific Northwest and employ between 40 and 50 people,” he said.
Dominguez served as president and creator of Kooskia Youth and Recreation Organization (2008-2017), was a Kooskia EMT from 2012-2018, and volunteer firefighter from 2012 to the present, as well as part of Lowell QRU 2012 to the present.
“I had every intention to not run again for school board,” Dominguez admitted. “After some hard and unpopular decisions we had to make as a board, I came under a lot of personal attacks. These attacks were then focused on to my children and family. We had even considered moving my family out of the area. After learning of a liberal-minded attempt to take the school board, I reconsidered my decision to move and to not run for school board. After talking with my wife and children, we decided that we can’t let these attacks run us off. With a lot of prayer and community support, we decided not to leave. My wife advised me to pray about the school board decision and she would support whatever decision I made.”
Dominguez said he has “fought too hard to keep our levy low, and protect our students with our new gun policy, and feel the last thing we need in our schools is a liberal agenda to be forced upon our communities and children.”
He said the biggest issues he sees for the school district are funding, contract negotiations and not enough offerings of career-based courses.
Dominguez said he feels the solution for career-based programs has been a close link to funding.
“I have continued to support any opportunities we get to incorporate and continue these much-needed courses. I have supported the welding courses and have proposed to the board chairman to help bring some more life skill courses to our schools,” he said. “If re-elected, one of my goals this term will be to bring some form of home economics back into our schools.”
Dominguez has had two children who graduated from MVSD, and three more children attending school within the district.
“I have known my opponent for many years and have worked with her as an EMT for most of those years. I know she has the best intentions and I am happy to see someone willing to step up to the task,” he emphasized. “I wish it wasn’t her I was running against. She is a very smart and educated person who I know has the best intentions for the kids. I will do my best to keep our schools a positive learning facility and will continue to fight for conservative Christian values.”
Pam Reidlen has resided near Kooskia for the past 25 years. She has a BA in secondary education (Spanish) and is retired with no children. She possesses an additional 130 college credits and continuing education units in education, social work, technology, finance, public management and communication.
Reidlen has 22 years of classroom experience; 14 at Kamiah High School. She spent six years as a social worker and has eight years of administrative experience at the state level in Nevada’s child welfare agency.
“There, I was involved in developing and monitoring budgets, writing grants and policies, program planning and evaluation, all the while communicating with staff, other agencies, legislators, and the public,” she said.
She said she started talking to community members and school staff regarding her intention to run for this position, and realized “how necessary it is to make a change in the school board if we are to move forward; and that I not only have the qualifications, but the time needed to do the job right.”
Upcoming district challenges Reidlen sees include restoring public trust and confidence in the school board, refocusing on programs and staff required to meet the district mission for “Educational Excellence for All,” and increasing community support and involvement in meeting students’ needs.
She said she would like to elect school board trustees whose only agenda is providing the best education the community can support to ensure trustees have skills and knowledge to effectively work with all parties and make fair, informed decisions.
She would also like to see implementation and ongoing re-assessment of the recently approved combined district plan to review barriers and incentives to ensure staff receives adequate support in meeting all students’ needs and “establish respectful, open, two-way communication between the school board, district and school staff, students, parents and community,” she said.
“As soon as possible after the election, I would like to see the new and returning trustees meet informally to share concerns and develop a working relationship; and discuss a schedule of training or refresher training for both new and returning trustees,” she added.
“It isn’t a question of whether it takes a village or a family to raise a child,” Reidlen added. “In today‘s world it takes both. We can’t accomplish anything worthwhile unless we do this together.”