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Fischer, LaRiviere win seats; Armstrong, Teuber advance

August 26, 2014
By TIFFANY REPECKI ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Two Lee County School Board races were decided Tuesday night in the primary election, while two opponents in a third race will move forward to battle it out in November.

With only two candidates in each race, the top vote-getters vying for the District 1 and District 5 seats took home the win. Incumbent Mary Fischer reclaimed her District 1 seat by garnering 56.20 percent of the total votes cast. She beat out challenger Marilyn Stout, who scored 43.80 percent of the votes cast.

"I am really pleased. I am honored, and I'm humbled and ready to continue to be a public servant," Fischer said Tuesday. "We are ready to get back to work and focus on the kids."

Her top focuses for the new term include addressing standardized testing, looking into building new schools that are needed and continue to advocate for comprehensive health education policy.

She thanked her supporters, Stout and the candidates in the other races.

"I just want to take a minute to appreciate all of my fellow candidates who put themselves out there," Fischer said.

Asked about her campaign, she would not have done anything different.

"We went grassroots. We made a lot of personal contact with people," Fischer said. "I appreciate the vote of confidence, and I will continue to work hard so I'll continue to earn that."

Stout explained that she knew she did not have enough votes to win as the numbers came in.

"It just wasn't meant to be," Stout said. "It is what it is."

She thanked her supporters and those who worked on her campaign trail.

"I really appreciate all of the support I did receive," Stout said.

She offered Fischer the best in her next term.

"I have nothing but a great respect for her and wish her the best as she moves forward," Stout said. "It was a good campaign - I think, for the most part, the incumbents won."

In the District 5 race, Pam LaRiviere took home the win with 56.29 percent of the total votes cast. LaRiviere ran against Carla Ronco, who garnered 43.71 percent of the votes in the non-partisan primary election.

"I am amazed. I am humbled, and I am looking forward to serving," she said.

LaRiviere pointed to her local teaching experience as one reason that she may have won.

"I've been very involved in the Lee County community as a whole for many years," she said.

"I hope that I'm able to serve them well," LaRiviere added.

Having once worked with Ronco in the same school, she called either of them winning a win-win.

"I really have a great deal of respect for Carla Ronco," LaRiviere said.

As for serving her first term, she plans to focus on opting out of the Common Core Standards, as well as ensuring have the knowledge, resources and autonomy they need to better educate their students.

Ronco did not return a message seeking comment Tuesday on the election results.

In the District 4 race, incumbent Don H. Armstrong went up against three opponents - Arvella Clare, Richard L. Dunmire and Steve Teuber.

As a non-partisan race with several candidates, the top two vote-getters move on to battle it out for the seat in November.

Teuber took first with 33.80 percent of the total votes cast, followed up by Armstrong with 29.32 percent. Third went to Dunmire, who earned 19.10 percent, while Clare scored 17.78 percent.

"I am very humbled and blessed and thank the voters for selecting me," Teuber said.

He noted that the primary had a lot of big races, so the school board ones did not get a lot of attention.

"At this point, it's just a one-on-one between us," Teuber said of Armstrong. "The effort is going to be to get the message out to the voters."

Asked about the support behind him, he said voters want to fiscally correct the school system.

"I think that the community has seen the fiscal irresponsibility of this board," Teuber said.

Armstrong offered his thanks to his supporters and the other candidates.

"My first reaction is I want to say thank you," he said, adding that his opponents ran a clean and respectable race. "Come November, I will be the winner again."

"We have a lot of work to do in this school district," Armstrong added. "A lot of people believe in what I'm doing and I'm humbled by it."

He referred to himself as the common man.

"I listen to the parents, I listen to the teachers," Armstrong said. "I'm not a politician, and people respect that."

Asked about his campaign and focus, he said he wants to get Lee County out of high stakes testing and get residents more involved in what is going on in the district. He pointed to tonight's board meeting.

"I ask everybody to show up," Armstrong said.

Neither Dunmire nor Clare returned a message Tuesday seeking comment on the results.



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