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Elect Thomas, Kinsella to School Board

The race for Position 2 on the Medford School Board pits Jeff Thomas, a veteran seeking his third term, against two newcomers.

For Position 1, retired Jackson Elementary School teacher Jeffrey Kinsella, a member of the district's Budget Committee, faces Curt Ankerberg, a certified public accountant.

For Position 2, Thomas has served ably on the School Board for eight years, including navigating the board through a contentious teachers' strike as its chairman. He says he wants to serve a third term before stepping down to make sure Superintendent Brian Shumate implements his vision for Medford schools and achieves the goals the board set for him when he was hired.

Also seeking the Position 2 seat on the board are Suzanne Messer, a senior inventory projects manager for Erickson, and Norma McMahan, who is a personal support worker for Jackson County Mental Health. Both are sincere, but neither can match Thomas' experience and knowledge.

Messer would benefit from some experience on the Budget Committee or another public position. She has the energy and commitment to be a School Board member, but needs some more preparation first.

McMahan seems unfamiliar with the basics of local government, and lacks knowledge of how tax levies work and what role budgeting plays at the state level and in district operations.

In the race for Position 1, Kinsella is the clear choice. He is currently serving on the district's Budget Committee, and he has years of teaching experience at the school serving the lowest-income neighborhoods in the district.

Kinsella is a member of the school advocacy group Stand for Children. He says Shumate has the vision that the district lacked under previous administrations, and the superintendent, the board and the teachers union are working more in partnership than in the past.

Kinsella's opponent, Curt Ankerberg, is a perennial candidate who has unsuccessfully run repeatedly for Medford City Council, the School Board and Jackson County commissioner. He has little to offer besides angry confrontation and an insistence that he can personally solve the problems facing the city, the county or the school district.

Voters should re-elect Thomas to a third term in Position 2, and elect Kinsella in Position 1.