Mike Holden, a 40-year member of Local 49, is running for re-election for school board in Independent School District 361 International Falls.
As the current incumbent, and vice chairman of the school board, Holden said he is very passionate about his service on the school board, and is very proud of his accomplishments during his four-year term.
During his last campaign, Holden said one of his main goals was to change the board structure by adding a member to prevent tie votes.
“It’s important for the future of the district to have a seventh member to break the tie when it’s needed,” he said. “We put out a vote to the district, which passed, so beginning Jan. 1, 2017 we will have a seventh board member.”
Holden also noted that unifying the school board was another big priority during his first term, and he believes the school board is in a much better place.
“I love people, and I like working to have peace in the family – as they say – I worked hard to unify the school board, and now we’re getting along really well,” Holden said.
Looking ahead, Holden wants to focus on infrastructure, economics and student retention in the next four years, if elected.
“I want to see our school stay financially above water, and not dip into our reserves,” Holden said. “That way we can focus on infrastructure and student retention.”
Holden has already led the district in one main infrastructure project to improve the school. The current board approved the installation of an elevator in the school’s arena to make sure people who are disabled have access to the concessions area.
“I want to continue to do things like that, by helping the people in our district, and our students” he said.
Student retention will also be key for Holden in the next four years, if elected.
We’ve found in open enrollment, kids appear to float to other schools, but we’ve been working hard try to retain our students,” Holden said.
Overall, Holden hopes he can continue to serve on the school board, and better his community.
“I love the teachers, the parents, and the rest of staff,” Holden said. “I love working with the kids – they’re the future of the country – but it’s also been great working with the employees of the school district…I hope I can continue to do that.”
Holden said he is still out campaigning and will continue to make the rounds in his community and door-knock.
“I’ve hit a big percentage of the school district area, we’re a huge district so I’ve been to a lot of doors, but I like talking to people so I enjoy it,” Holden said.
Now retired, Holden said that when he’s out talking to people in the district, he loves talking about his time as a member of Local 49.
For 40 years Holden was the City of International Falls’ master electrician, and served as a Local 49 steward three different times during the course of his career.
“People usually wonder how an electrician can be a 49er, but part of my job was working with electrical boom work, and trenching, so I was using heavy equipment,” Holden said.
When asked about his time as a member of Local 49, Holden simply said, “I absolutely love my union.”
“I had great business agents, and actually all of the business agents I had through the years came to my retirement party…I was pretty excited when they all showed up,” he added.
Holden said that his leadership experience in his career, his time as a union steward and his proven experience as vice chairman on the school board for the last four years will make him successful in serving the school district for another four years.