School board race closest in the election

Douglas County School Board Vice President Cindy Trigg kept her seat Tuesday night in what was one of the closest races in the county.

Trigg, who represents Lake Tahoe's Area 3, beat challenger Greg Felton with 10,753 votes over his 9,521, a difference of 1,232.

"I'm obviously delighted," said Trigg. "I am looking forward to continuing the progress we were working on prior to the radon issue."

Last year, Felton became a vocal critic of the school board and Trigg in particular for what he felt was a mismanaged effort to mitigate elevated radon levels at Zephyr Cove Elementary School.

However, the school district successfully resolved the radon problem over the summer, and the controversy was eclipsed by budget cuts coming down from the state.

"I'm hoping we can get past the acrimony now," Trigg said. "We need to focus on the curriculum, on how to grow student achievement in a climate of reduced dollars."

Trigg thanked voters for "continuing to put their trust in me," but she said the biggest victory of the election was not hers.

"I want to thank voters so profoundly for passing the school bond and allowing education to take a front seat," she said. "Voters sent a message to our children that they count, and what a great message, for students, for teachers, for all of education in Douglas County. It was the highlight."

Felton congratulated Trigg for her victory, but said the race did expose discrepancy between her and her constituents.

"I did end up winning the popular vote at the Lake," Felton said. "I am hopeful that will cause Cindy to reflect on how she can better represent the people in her area of the county."

Felton narrowly carried the seven Lake Tahoe precincts with 1,339 votes over Trigg's 1,250, a difference of 89.

"Cindy's focus has been on eliminating a rift between the Lake and Valley. By doing so, she seems to be catering to people in the Valley," he said. "I'm not convinced the rift exists. As long as every representative is in tune with the needs of the people in their area and is willing to take into account the needs of the other areas, the kids receive good governance. But if a member is out of touch with the needs of their area, that area does not have good representation."

Despite the loss, Felton said he is looking forwarding to working with Trigg on important issues.

"She is our representative for the next four years," he said. "I'm going to meet with her and share with her everything I've learned on the campaign. I've talked to thousands of people."

The race for School Board Area 1, which represents north Carson Valley, wasn't as close. Incumbent Karen Chessell beat challenger Charles Swanson with 10,704 votes over his 8,455, a difference of 2,249.

"I don't look at it as a loss," said Swanson. "The public chose someone else. I wish Karen good luck."

Chessell couldn't be reached for comment.


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