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Garcia throws wrench into Phoenix-Talent school board election

Ben Garcia
The candidate now says he won’t serve if elected

Ben Garcia no longer wants to be a Phoenix-Talent School Board member.

With less than a week to go before the May 18 special election, Garcia announced Wednesday that if he is elected to the school board, he won’t serve.

"I have called county election officials and notified them that I will be stepping down if I get elected to school board in Phoenix-Talent schools after the next election," Garcia said in an email to the Mail Tribune Wednesday.

Garcia, who is on the ballot against Rebecca Weathers for Position 5, Zone 1, declined an interview request but explained in the email that his reasons were personal.

Garcia and Weathers are among 11 candidates vying for five spots on the Phoenix-Talent School Board in a packed local election cycle that comes to a head Tuesday. Ballots were mailed to voters starting April 30 and can be deposited into an official ballot drop box no later than 8 p.m. Tuesday.

According to his responses to a Q&A form from the Mail Tribune, Garcia said he went through the Phoenix-Talent K-12 school system and has lived in the area most of his life.

“I want to be the first school board member of color who actually went through the Phoenix-Talent School District as a student,” he wrote. But now he has apparently had a change of heart.

If Garcia wins the election and follows through on his plans, the board would be required to declare a vacancy and appoint a person to fill the spot. The person appointed must have resided in the district and zone for at least a year before the appointment.

Garcia’s decision will likely give a big boost to Weathers, who also went through the Phoenix-Talent school system and, according to her Voters’ Pamphlet entry, has been endorsed by the Phoenix-Talent Education Association and the Oregon Education Association.

Weathers is the manager at Sweet Beet Station in Talent.

Joe Zavala can be reached at 541-821-0829 or jzavala@rosebudmedia.com.