IMBLER — The race for Position 3 on the Imbler School Board has a distinction — it has the largest candidate field of any school board race in Union County.
Three candidates are vying for the seat, one of only four contested school board races in the county.
Those running are Joseph “Joe” Fisher Jr., a building official; Tim Phelps, a sales and marketing director; and Bud Whitcomb, the owner and operator of a custom body and paint shop. Dan McDonald, the incumbent, did not file for reelection.
Fisher, who lives in Summerville, filed for Position 3 to reach out to his community.
“I want to do what is best for the kids in our school district,” said Fisher, who works for the city of La Grande’s building department.
Fisher and his wife, Wendi, are the parents of a son who is an Imbler High School freshman and a daughter who is an Imbler High senior.
Fisher is a 1993 graduate of Union High School and has an associate’s degree in architectural engineering technology from Mount Hood Community College. He has been a volunteer in the Imbler School District for several years, assisting with its high school FFA program.
Fisher said what he likes best about the school district is how its teachers and the community support the activities students are involved with, including FFA, sports and Future Business Leaders of America.
Phelps said he is running because he wants to continue giving back.
“I feel that as a parent of school-aged children it is important to be involved in the community,” Phelps said.
Phelps has served as a volunteer for youth flag football and Optimist football programs. He is a 1992 graduate of Imbler High School and attended Eastern Oregon University for three years. He is director of sales and marketing for Barreto Manufacturing.
Phelps and his wife, Jenny, are the parents of three children, ages 6, 10 and 12.
The candidate said he appreciates how hard everyone in the school district and the community work to help one another.
“It is like a big family,” Phelps said.
Whitcomb did not return phone calls to discuss his candidacy.
Union County Clerk’s Office election filing records indicate Whitcomb is a graduate of Kamiah High School in Kamiah, Idaho, and Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho.
The race for Position 3 is one of two contested school board races in the Imbler School District. A second contested race is for Position 5 between Lavar Bowles, a project manager for a construction company, and Jason Beck, a rancher. The Observer published a story about the Position 3 race in the Tuesday, May 4, edition.