In The Press
Hastings Tribune "Meet the Candidates"
is a full-time wife and mother of three. Her candidacy representsher first venture into public office.
She is a former YWCA volleyball coach, and her current community activities include involvement in her church’s evening children’s program. Her platform focuses on keeping decisions involving school matters local while providing students and school staff a level of support conducive to success, both in the classroom and life.
“I decided to run for the Hastings School Board to take an active role in our community, to shore up the foundations of our future,” she said. “As a school board member, I will seek to preserve the values of the Hastings community.
“I support and care for our teachers and support staff and seek to increase transparency and accountability of taxpayer dollars. I support local decision-making with teacher and parent involvement, and most importantly protecting our children physically and emotionally from sexually inappropriate and racially divisive material.”
43, is a vice president at Pinnacle Bank. He is a husband with two young children. Hughes is involved with the Hastings Area Chamber of Commerce board and the Hastings Family YMCA Finance Committee, and he and his wife help teach children’s church at Hastings E-Free Church.
He believes his ability to see both sides of issues and his 20 years in the banking industry are skills that can provide unique insight to the board. He said the school is one of the largest employers in the area and with his background, he should be able to assist on financial issues most of all.
Hughes said he wanted to enter the race as a way to be involved with his children’s education. His mother was a teacher for 35 years, and his wife has taught for 15 years.
“In my opinion, there’s nothing more important than your children’s education,” he said. “I wanted to be involved as much as I could. I’m excited about the opportunity to get in there and learn.”
He believes the school board should be apolitical and focus on the best outcomes for students, especially preparing them to be ready to enter the workforce or go on to college after high school.
He is encouraged by the fact that 12 people are running for four spots on the board. The variety of candidates will provide different views and different opinions.
“I think that speaks well of Hastings,” he said. “People are passionate enough to get out there and be involved in their school board. I welcome that.”
is a home inspector for C & A Home Inspections. His community involvement includes regular attendance at Hastings E-Free Church, volunteer work at Royal Family Kids Camp, and service on the Platte Valley Youth for Christ board.
He is a husband and father of three. His platform priorities are to protect and support parental rights while preserving community values.
An advocate for school choice, Montague believes students are entitled to a diversified education devoid of indoctrination, with transparency and accountability of taxpayer dollars utilized to purchase supplies and services that create educational opportunities for students.
is a former local business owner who serves as school nurse for Grand Island Public Schools. She is a wife and mother of three.
Starkey is a delegate of the Adams County Nebraska Republican Party and this year is serving on the campaign committee for Sherry Jones, who is running to represent District 6 on the Nebraska State Board of Education.
She is a past officer for Hastings Women of Today. Her community involvement has included roles as Sunday School Teacher, Webelo den leader, and 4-H and Pheasants Forever volunteer.
She also is a member of the Central Nebraska School Nurses Association, a member of the special-needs parent support groups in Hastings and Grand Island, and a donor to the Hastings Public Schools Foundation for the Annie Starkey Memorial Scholarship Fund.
“My experience as a public school nurse working with teachers and parents and being entrusted with their children has inspired me to do more for the safety, health, and education of our students,” Starkey said.
Her priority list includes giving teachers the time and tools they need to best serve their students. “Our amazing teachers are struggling and pushed beyond the limits after two very stressful years,” she said. “Let’s listen to and support them, get out of their way and let them teach!"
Her objectives are to protect parental rights and keep children safe while preserving community values. “Quality education is necessary to give our children the skills, knowledge and resources needed to set themselves up for success,” she said. “We need to protect children physically and emotionally from sexually inappropriate and racially divisive materials in the classroom.”
is a real estate agent at Keller Williams Realty and the mother of three daughters. Her community involvement includes time served as chair of Wellspring Pregnancy Center and volunteer work with North Shore Assembly of God’s youth program.
“I feel there needs to be more conservative parent voices represented on the board,” Widhelm said. “Instead of wishing someone would step up and be those voices, I decided it was time for me to step up myself.”
She believes it is up to parents to ultimately direct the education of their children in matters of perspective, while classroom studies should focus on providing basic foundation skills.
She said it is imperative for the board to include a conservative perspective to ensure that parent voices are heard and valued.
“I plan to campaign as the voice of parents,” she said. “I want parents to know that with me on the school board I will protect the innocence of our children and fight for parents’ rights to parent their children the way that they see fit. CRT, CSE and none of the proposed health standards belong in our schools.”