Adelante Mujeres votes NO on the Forest Grove School Board Recall

A recall election is being held on Tuesday, November 1 to contest the positions of Terry Howell and Anna Tavera-Weller on the Forest Grove School Board.

Tonight, the evening of Wednesday, October 19, community members against the recall will convene at 5pm in the Rogers Room at the Forest Grove Library, and will canvas local neighborhoods to encourage supporters of Howell and Tavera-Weller to get out and vote against the recall.

Bridget Cooke, Executive Director of Adelante Mujeres, has drafted this note to urge all Forest Grove residents to show their solidarity with Howell and Tavera-Weller by voting against the recall:


Sometimes we need a recall. We elect citizen representatives in good faith, hoping they will guide the community forward as best they can. We trust their wisdom and believe they will take seriously their responsibility and the power we’ve given them. When they blatantly abuse that power, we need to step in to prevent further damage.

Right now two members of the Forest Grove School Board are up for recall, Anna Tavera-Weller and Terry Howell, and ballots are sitting on kitchen tables. It’s up to all of us to decide if they should stay or go. We can start by asking if they’ve misused their authority, if they’ve personally benefited from decisions they’ve made, if they’ve neglected their duties, been absent from the process. If the answer is “Yes”, then by all means we should vote them out. From our assessment, we think the answer is “No”. We don’t believe their service merits the boot.

At times we’re too quick to lay blame and too slow to exercise empathy. We’d prefer not to walk in another’s shoes. We think Mr. Howell and Ms. Tavera-Weller deserve the right to respond to complaints expressed by some. They have not been derelict in their duty. And many, we included, applaud the courage and generosity they’ve shown in serving on the board in such trying times.

However, we also think that Anna and Terry need more of us to be more engaged. The Forest Grove School Citizens Advisory is proving that parent engagement can get traction with the District (Parents push back….10/12 News Times). People do listen when spoken to.

At Adelante Mujeres, the non-profit I direct, we view education as a life-long process. All of us, not just children and youth, are gaining new skills with each passing day. Elected officials are no exception, and they need our input. No doubt about it, the School Board didn’t do everything perfect, but with $7,500,000 to cut, could anybody have come close to perfect? How about we put down our arms, and begin to labor and learn together to find our way out of our educational and fiscal crises?

Let’s pick up those ballots on our kitchen tables, vote “NO” and then get on the phone to start a conversation with Anna and Terry. They do want to know what we’d like to see in our school district, and while we’re at it, let’s call the other members of the School Board as well.

Bridget Cooke, Executive Director-Adelante Mujeres