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Wendel out of school board election; Padget puts out release

The race for the four open seats on the Newton Community School District’s Board of Education has went from six candidates to five.

Clifford Wendel said he considered running but, after consulting with his employers, learned he cannot have outside employment. Wendel currently serves as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Iowa.

With his withdrawal, the five remaining candidates are current board president Andy Elbert, board member Sherri Benson and former board member Joe Klingensmith. Both Travis Padget and Darrin T. Hamilton started write-in campaigns for the open seats.

Padget recently released a statement about his campaign.

“Travis Padget announced Thursday via Facebook he will be vying for one of four open seats on the Newton Community School District School Board. Padget, a 1991 graduate of Newton High School and currently working for a non-profit serving Jasper County, said he decided to run for school board as a way to serve his community.

“I graduated from Newton High School and it is my early education that prepared me for graduate and law school, and my work today,” he said. “The school board is a great opportunity to get more involved and to give back to my hometown.”

Padget shared he feels that not having children in the Newton schools provides him a different perspective when it comes to Newton’s schools. He also stated he believes education is a fundamental piece to the community in areas of population growth, economic development and community unity.

“A strong education system is key for the health of a community,” Padget said. “Newton has a terrific school district, and I want to ensure it continues to improve.”

Padget said he would like to see NCSD be strengthened with continued hiring and retention of top-notch educators, larger investment in technology for students entering a global market, revitalizing Red Pride in Newton, and developing strategies to showcase the schools as a core strength in economic development.

“I’m very excited about this opportunity,” he said. “I look forward to serving Newton on the school board.”

School board elections take place Sept. 10.

Staff writer Ty Rushing may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 426, or at

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