Ballot Initiative Fails

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Voters voted no to the ballot initiative to appoint a committee to consider and possibly recommend a change in the form of government.

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The Grand County Council election had two clear winners out of the four available seats: Lynn Jackson and Elizabeth Tubbs. Both entered the race unopposed.

The tightest race of the night was between Rory Paxman and Kalen Jones for the District No. 5 county council seat. Paxman beat Jones by eight votes, with the total of 244 to 236.

Ken Ballantyne beat Joe Downard 317 to 116 in the District No. 2 county council race. This will be Ballantyne’s fourth term as county council. He served two terms as county councilman from 1993 to 2000. According to Grand County law, county council members can serve only two terms at a time. He took a break for two terms. He then ran for office in 2007 and began his third term in 2008.

“I’m happy,” Ballantyne said of the results. “I gave up a long time ago how to predict races in this county.”

Ballantyne is focused on moving together as a council.

“I think we can work together. I feel good about Lynn and Elizabeth,” Ballantyne said. “The race is too close between Kalen and Rory to tell who has won.”

Ballantyne expressed that he was unaware of any absentee ballots that may affect the final outcome.

Jim Webster was able to retain the No. 3 school board member seat. He ran against Charles Jacobs in a race of 506 to 225.

“I’m pleased with the results. I’m looking forward to serving four more years and working for our students and our schools,” Webster said.

Webster served on the school board during great financial crisis.

“We’ve got our finances stabilized and I’m pleased with that,” Webster said. “We’ve taken our hits and we’ve been slowly rebuilding. We need to keep looking forward to where we can move in an appropriate way that is best for our students.”

He plans to continue a focus on math achievement. He also sees a need to make decisions regarding the Grand County Middle School building.

“We really need to look at having a community-wide discussion about the middle school,” he said.

In other school board races Melissa Byrd beat Stacey Downard 383 to 80 to win the No. 2 school board member seat and Peggy Nissen beat Jeanette Kopell 276 to 210 votes for the No. 5 school board member seat.

“Now I have a lot of work ahead of me,” Nissen said. Nissen worked as a Grand County School District teacher and counselor for 31 years. “I do have less of a learning curve than others might have, so it may not be so overwhelming.”

Nissen said she is apprehensive about how school board decisions may make some people unhappy.

“I was a counselor and I like people to be happy, that may be the hardest thing for me: unhappy people,” she said. “I really want people to understand how decisions are made and to have a lot of information.”

To read more from the Moab Sun News click here.

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