Longtime Onalaska School Board Member Faces Two Challengers for At-Large Seat in Primary


Longtime Onalaska School Board member Mary Glenn will face two challengers this August in a bid to retain her at-large seat.

Steve Legg, a supervisor at TransAlta Centralia, and Ben Sabin have filed to challenge Glenn.

Ballots for the Aug. 3 election have already arrived in registered voters’ mailboxes. They should be postmarked by Aug. 3 or returned to a ballot drop box by 8 p.m. the day of election in order to be tallied.

According to Lewis County Elections, July 26 was the last day to register or update existing voter registration by mail, online or at a driver’s license office for the upcoming election. Voters can still register in-person to vote up until 8 p.m. the day of election at the Lewis County Auditor’s Office.

Glenn did not return multiple phone calls this week with additional questions about her candidacy. No campaign information, contact information or a candidate photo for Sabin were submitted in the county voters pamphlet.

A school board member of 16 years, Glenn moved to Onalaska in 1992 and has been an active community member since. She’s currently employed by Tacoma Power at the Cowlitz River Project, according to a statement in the voters pamphlet.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and a  master’s degree in public administration, both from Washington State University. Her master’s thesis focused on low income housing in Lewis County.

Glenn also has served with the Affordable Housing Network and was on a selection committee for recipients of McKinney-Vento housing grants, as well as on the Onalaska Scholarship Fund Committee.

“I firmly believe that there should be the opportunity for every child to receive the education that allows them to reach their maximum potential,” she wrote in her candidate statement. “The relationship between the student and their teacher is key to reaching a student’s potential.”

She said school boards are instrumental in creating safe and supportive environments for the district’s students, teachers, administrators and staff, and they must work diligently and carefully to make decisions to navigate challenges while supporting its people.

“When we as a board are flexible, educated, and innovative, great things happen in our schools. I have been fortunate to be able to serve my community as a school board member and would be honored to serve another four years,” she wrote.

Legg, 45, has four children, two of whom attend Onalaska Elementary School, and he is also a 1994 Onalaska High School graduate.

“I have a lot of care for the community and care for this school, and given the direction our whole world is going, given the laws that are being passed and things they’re teaching in the school, as a parent ... I want to be involved,” Legg told The Chronicle.

He feels the district has done a good job in engaging the public, but he’d like to bring a greater sense of transparency and overall service to the district’s constituents. The direction public education and curriculum are heading also, he said, concerns him.

“My whole point in running is to get involved and not be someone that’s out on the sidelines,” he said. “And I think we all need to get involved to the point where we can make it a better community, state and country to live in.”

Legg has served as an Awanas club leader for two years and as a little league baseball coach for four. He has been elected an elder at his church. He has also served in the U.S. Army as a paratrooper, serving between 1994 and 1998.

“Quality education for students depends on consistent accountability by all levels. I will commit to developing ideas and skills, to help staff and board members understand our role in accomplishing this,” he wrote, adding later: “If we reject the ‘status quo,’ I am confident our district will excel.”