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Keating declares victory in Tacoma school board race, unseats 30-year incumbent

Lisa Keating, 47, is running for Tacoma Public Schools Board of Directors Position 1 in the 2019 election. Keating is a parent of a Tacoma student and currently serves as executive director for My Purple Umbrella, which raises awareness for transgender and gender diverse children.
Lisa Keating, 47, is running for Tacoma Public Schools Board of Directors Position 1 in the 2019 election. Keating is a parent of a Tacoma student and currently serves as executive director for My Purple Umbrella, which raises awareness for transgender and gender diverse children. Courtesy

The tables have turned in a tight race for Tacoma Public Schools’ Board of Directors, Position 1.

Lisa Keating, a first-time candidate who was was behind 30-year incumbent Debbie Winskill when election results were first released on Tuesday, is now leading.

The latest election results released Friday show Keating with a 1,573-vote lead over Winskill. Keating has 51.39 of the vote while Winskill has 47.92 percent.

Reached by phone Friday evening, it took Keating a moment to find the words for how she felt.

“I feel elated,” she finally replied.

Winskill, also reached Friday, said she would call Keating to concede.

“It’s disappointing, but I wish her the best of luck,” Winskill said.

Winskill added that she feels it best to step away from office but says she’ll still be involved in the district through her grandchildren.

Keating said she was cautiously optimistic after initial results showed her close behind Winskill. Each day felt like a week, she said.

Keating passed Winskill in votes for the first time on Thursday.

“Yesterday I thought, OK, maybe we can do this,” she said.

Keating thinks that ballots turned in later on election day contributed to her pulling ahead.

“We knew there was huge volume of last-minute votes,” she said.

The outcome shows that people feel it’s important to have representatives on the school board that are reflective of a changing community, Keating said.

“Thirty years is too long for any person to hold a position because there’s so much that changes about a community in that time,” she said.

Enrique Leon was also leading in the race for Director Position 2 race with 66.62 percent of the vote. Kristopher Kerns had 32.77 percent of the vote.

There are roughly 4,000 ballots left to count county-wide, according to the Pierce County auditor’s office.

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