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Posted on Nov 17, 2018

School board member seeks seat in Olympia

Alex Ybarra, a member of the Quincy School District Board of Directors, is one of three people vying for an appointment to the Washington Legislature seat held by Rep. Matt Manweller.
Manweller, a legislator out of Ellensburg, said before the election that he would resign if re-elected, leaving the choice of his replacement in the hands of the state Republican Party and county commissioners from his legislative district.
Manweller made the announcement shortly after he was fired from Central Washington University after an investigation determined he had inappropriate contact with a CWU student.
The party narrowed the list to three candidates: Danny Stone, of Almira; Ian Elliott, of Ellensburg; and Ybarra. The county commissioners in all the counties in Manweller’s legislative district will likely vote in mid-December to choose a successor.
If chosen, Ybarra will serve for one year, he said, before having to run for election in November 2019. If he wins that election, he would have to run for re-election again in 2020, this time for a full term.
That way, his term will fall in line with the party’s regular elections cycle, Ybarra said. If not chosen, Ybarra said he would likely run for the legislative position as a candidate in 2019.
With seven years on the school board and with him and his wife having become empty-nesters, Ybarra said this is the right time to enter the Legislature. He counted as his strengths his work in Olympia on education issues as member of the school board, and as member of the Washington State Commission on Hispanic Affairs and as a director of the Washington State School Directors Association.
Manweller’s legislative district includes parts of Grant, Lincoln and Kittitas counties. Quincy-born and raised, Ybarra said the issues affecting other regions of the district don’t differ too greatly from the issues affecting Grant County.
Ybarra said he did not know whether he would have to resign from the school board if he gets the appointment. When reached for comment, John Boyd, superintendent of Quincy public schools, said “We will cross that bridge when we come to it.”
“We recently went through a selection process, so the board will be able to select a new board member seamlessly, if the case is we need to replace him,” Boyd said.
If chosen, Ybarra said he would “keep doing what I have been doing, being an advocate for Central Washington, all our districts, all our kids, and try to be an Eastern Washington voice for everybody, not just Republicans.”
He later added, “It’ll be a lot of work, but it’s worth it.”

By Sebastian Moraga,