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Incumbent wins only contested board race

November 7, 2018

Leadership in East Allen County Schools will remain unchanged as voters favored incumbent Gayle Etzler in the district’s only contested board race, according to unofficial election results late Tuesday.

Etzler described the contest between Jared Widenhoefer as friendly.

“We said the national government should follow our example,” Etzler said, adding that the school board would be fine with whoever won.

But it was Etzler whom voters in District 2E chose. She earned 2,234 votes compared with Widenhoefer’s 1,337 votes, according to unofficial results with 242 of 292 precincts reporting.

District 2E covers a broad area of east Allen County.

Widenhoefer offered Etzler his congratulations.

“I’m proud of the campaigns she and I ran,” he said in a text message late Tuesday.

“Without any of (the) turmoil which has ravaged our national politics, she and I have managed to become friends. I would like to thank all of my supporters and ask them to fully support Gayle as our voice in EACS.”

This will be Etzler’s first and only full term. She doesn’t plan to seek additional terms.

“I really, really feel good about being on it because I’m a teacher and can represent teachers,” Etzler said.

Now retired, Etzler taught in East Allen 31 years. She met her late husband, famed Woodlan football coach Leland Etzler, at the school.

She was appointed to the board in January 2017 to finish his term when he resigned for health reasons.

“I am so loyal to East Allen,” Etzler said in the weeks leading up to Election Day.

Widenhoefer also offered voters a familiar name to vote for.

A lifelong East Allen resident, he is a New Haven High School alumnus and parent of a Woodlan Junior-Senior High School freshman. His brother is principal of Heritage Junior-Senior High School.

During the campaign, Widenhoefer said there is value in electing a new voice to the seven-member board.

“Sometimes things can get a little stale or stagnant,” he said before the election.

Incumbents Tim Hines of District 1R and Paulette Nellems of District 3E ran unopposed.

asloboda@jg.net

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