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School Board candidate profile: Fred Hess

Fred Hess

Fred Hess got so inspired while campaigning last year for local candidates that he figured he needed to take the plunge himself.

He said the 2012 experience of volunteering for Sen. Susan Kent and Rep. JoAnn Ward, both Woodbury Democrats, set the stage for his foray into public service.

“I said, ‘You know, if I’m going to do something, I need to get off the fence and do something,” Hess said.

The Woodbury man said he’s most concerned that families like his – Hess married his partner, Douglas Dempsey-Hess, with whom he shares a son, in September – are treated fairly by the local education system.

Hess said his family represents more than a single issue, however. As someone now in his 60s, Hess said he wants to be sure continuing education opportunities continue to thrive in the district. And as the parent of a biracial son, he said it’s important to him that “everyone has a voice,” including families of different backgrounds.

“I think my family represents a unique blend of a lot of (other families),” Hess said.

Though many district households are affluent, Hess reminds that “not everyone’s well to do,” and said those residents’ concerns must be addressed. That means keeping a close eye on keeping fees manageable for programs.

“So all families can participate equally,” Hess said.

He said he will be supporting the district’s three-part referendum, calling the funding request “reasonable.” While technology and security issues generate a need to support Question 2, residential growth in south Washington County supports passage of Question 3, Hess said.

Of the added presence of iPads in district classrooms, Hess sees it as a good thing – but one that needs to be analyzed to ensure effectiveness.

Still, he said the education system needs to embrace the opportunity and reality technology represents.

“We can’t go backward on technology,” he said.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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