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Progressives Will Continue to Lead Our School Board After the May 2023 School Board Election

Our endorsed candidate Cynthia Richardson beat extremist Republican Casity Troutt by 1,207 votes out of 41,637 cast. She will be the fifth progressive member of the school board when she takes her seat this year making for a solid 5-2 progressive majority. Casity Troutt, who led a recall effort against three progressive school board members in 2022 and tried to ban two books from our school libraries that year would have been a terribly disruptive force had she won. Cynthia ran a great campaign and her far superior qualifications probably led to her solid victory.

Our endorsed candidate Kelley Strawn campaigned diligently but fell 522 votes short of taking out well-funded Republican incumbent Satya Chandrigiri. Chandrigiri benefited from name recognition, having served on the school board for four years, including one year as Chair of the board. Like the other two Republican candidates he had strong backing from Oregon Right to Life and their affiliated political action committees that funded a strong direct mail campaign against our candidates. In the end it was too much for our candidate to overcome, despite his best efforts.

Our endorsed candidate Larry Scruggs got a late start, filing for the race only a day before the deadline. 

He was not able to overcome the early start by Republican Krissy Hudson who, like Troutt and Chandrigiri, was backed by Oregon Right to Life and their affiliated political action committees that spent heavily on a direct mail and social media campaign promoting their slate of candidates. Now Hudson will join Chandrigiri on the school board, part of a 5-2 minority whose extreme Republican agenda can thankfully be easily blocked.

"The results of the May school board election were a disappointment. We had three of the best qualified candidates we have had in a long time. Had we been able to elect all three we would have had an all-progressive school board. That goal will have to wait. The Oregon Right to Life political machine showed they are hard to beat. Hopefully we can learn a lesson from this, and we can plan to redouble our efforts in 2025. That's what it will take to win."

Barbara Fuller, Chair
Progressive Salem
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