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Four file for three WDC school board seats

A competitive race for the Wadena-Deer Creek School Board is taking shape.

Four candidates - two incumbents and two newcomers - are vying for the three four-year positions up for election Nov. 4.

Ann Pate, a 12-year veteran of the board, and eight-year board member Wayne Perkins have filed for reelection. Meanwhile, Tri-County Health Care communications specialist Jil Fiemeyer and Vince Hinojos, a TCHC network engineer, are making their first runs for elected office.

Board member John Moenkedick, who was first elected in 2006, has indicated he does not intend to seek a third term.

The filing period ends next Tuesday. To become a candidate, fill out a form at the district office along with a $2 filing fee. Candidates must be 21 years or older and residents of the school district.

Making the case for reelection, Pate points to her breadth of school district involvement, both on the board - she's a former chair and is now lead negotiator - and as a prolific volunteer. She serves on the WDC Foundation board, among several others.

"I do bring a lot of experience and I believe that experience brings the qualifications to continue to move the school district forward in a positive manner," said Pate, who holds degrees in business and resource management.

She stressed the importance of investing in new curriculum, such as WDC's engineering and Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities programs, in order to "to build a better workforce."

As of press time, Perkins, the other incumbent running for reelection, had not responded to a message seeking comment.

Neither challenger had harsh words for the status quo. Both said they are running to give back to the community through public service.

"I just want to try and make a good situation even better," said Hinojos, a father of three WDC students. "I want to be a part of a team that's making good, positive change."

Hinojos has coached community education basketball, taught the Lego robotics class and mentored the the high school robotics program. He also serves on the WDC Foundation board.

Running for school board, he said, "just seems like a natural progression."

Fiemeyer, a Wadena graduate and mother of two WDC students, said she wants to serve an education system that has gone "above and beyond" for her family, particularly during her daughter Jane's fight with leukemia.

Fiemeyer started her public relations career with the New Ulm school system, where she learned firsthand how public schools operate.

"I'm running because I think education is incredibly important for our community and there are so many kids I'm connected with that all deserve to have a top-notch education," she said. "I just want to do what I can to ensure that continues into the future."