Voters handed the Kootenai Health Board of Trustees a mandate Tuesday: Follow your nurses’ instructions.
Cynthia Clark and Liz Godbehere, two nurses who chose to run on platforms of their profession’s representation, soundly defeated their four opponents to win the two vacant board positions.
“A nurse brings to the table what happens at the bedside,” Godbehere told The Press as early results trickled in Tuesday night. “The board needs to have that perspective represented. The community has changed quite a bit over the years, and nurses really have their hands on the pulse of that community.”
Incumbent Mic Armon wished the two winners well.
“[The results show] the board needs to have nurses representing,” he said. “We haven’t really had that voice before. It’ll be interesting to see how it all plays out.”
He also thanked the voters for his opportunity to serve.
“The people on the board,” he said, “they really give it their all. I respect every one of them. I’ve been on the board for four years. Kootenai Health is a truly phenomenal organization. It’s an organization that’s vitally important to the community.”
Armon also gave the winners a piece of friendly advice.
“Health care is changing dramatically — by the hour, it feels like,” he said. “Kootenai Health employs over 3,000 hard-working, tireless people. But it’s a very, very, very steep learning curve. My first year, I felt like I was drinking out of a firehose.”
Clark and Godbehere won with 2,455 and 2,243 votes, respectively, followed by Steven Matheson with 1,835 votes, Armon with 1,672 votes, Dr. Randil Clark with 988 votes and Jim Dutkiewicz closing out the contest with 499 votes.
Clark and Godbehere weren’t the only decisive winners of the evening. Lynn Humphreys beat out Rocky Banks 801 to 548 for the Post Falls Highway Sub-District 3 race.
Incumbent Graham Christensen beat Lorna Casey-Kaiser for the East Side Highway District’s Sub-District 1 seat, 517 to 301, representing Kootenai County voters from Coeur d’Alene to Cataldo to the east, as well as Harrison and St. Maries to the south. Medimont also falls into the district. Christensen said his business acumen will help him continue to sharply examine his role in the district.
“I feel like my experience as a business owner gives me an opportunity to contribute,” Christensen told The Press. “We have, on a per-mile basis, the lowest levy rate of anywhere in the county. But at the same time, we have the worst roads in the county...We have to be creative with how we spend our money, we have to pursue grants, and we have to pursue any avenue we can to better manage our roads.”
Christensen added that he appreciated Casey-Kaiser’s vigor and determination during the campaign.
“I know she’s passionate about the highway district,” he said. “I respect her passion, and I respect the time she gave to raise the bar for all of us.”
Incumbent Mark Addington’s 477 votes defeated Jeff Hunter’s 324 votes to win the East Side Highway District’s Sub-District 3 seat.
In the Lakes Highway Sub-District 3 race, incumbent Diane Fountain soundly defeated Scott “Scooter” Jordan, 1,742 to 1,223.
“I believe it says I’ve represented the people in good fashion,” Fountain said. “I’m thankful I will continue representing them in the way I have the last four years.”
Up north, Calvin Nolan defeated Michael Lawrence Kendel 166 to 59 to win Bayview Water and Sewer’s Director 3 seat.
Tuesday night’s results did leave an issue hanging in the air, at least for the moment. The available 5 seat in Kootenai County Water District 1 between Norm Milem and J.D. Owen was tied, 51 to 51.
Tuesday’s results are unofficial until canvassing takes place.