Wells unopposed after Gonzales drops out of School Board race

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WALLA WALLA — Sam Wells simply outlasted his opponents in the race for Walla Walla School Board’s Director 1 position.

Wells, a financial advisor at Edward Jones, is the only remaining candidate actively running for the position after Josh Gonzales announced Tuesday that he is withdrawing from the race due to time conflicts with a new job.

Although Gonzales’ name will remain on the ballot for the Nov. 5 election, Wells is effectively running unopposed.

There were originally three candidates for the Director 1 position, however the third candidate, Brent Barberich, dropped out of the election before a primary held in August because of family issues.

Wells won the primary in a landslide, taking 2,159 votes (59 percent) to 1,250 (34 percent) for Gonzales.

Gonzales resigned his post as Walla Walla Camp Fire USA’s executive director in September to take a position with Teach for America, a national nonprofit which places new teachers in low-income school districts.

“The opportunity to be a part of Teach For America was not one that I could have foreseen at the time that I filed to run for the School Board position,” Gonzales said in an email to the Union-Bulletin, “and with this job comes a lot of travel that directly conflicts with the need to regularly attend School Board meetings.”

Wells will replace board member Dan Hess, who is retiring after one term on the Board. Hess, a private practice attorney, was previously on the board from 1985-92.

Attempts to contact Wells, who is on vacation this week, were unsuccessful.

“I have confidence in Sam Wells and know that he will be a great addition to the School Board,” Gonzales wrote. “His financial background and community connection will be an asset to the Board. It has been a pleasure to be a part of this election process with him and he has been a terrific opponent and fellow candidate.”

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