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Gergen, Pemble and Waits secure Hastings School Board seats; Blissenbach wins special election

Scott Gergen, Dave Pemble and Kelsey Waits won seats on the Hastings School Board in Tuesday's election.

They were among five candidates for three four-year term seats.

Peter Blissenbach ran unopposed for a special election and will serve on the board for two years.

Gergen garnered 26.37 percent of the votes, Pemble came in with 22.77 percent and Waits had 20.82 percent.

Gergen, 49, is an information technology manager. He is married to his wife Ann and father to three sons. Gergen ran as an incumbent in the election. This will be his second term on the board. He was first elected in 2013.

Gergen said that it feels fantastic to have the community put their faith in him to represent their best interest and be a steward of their tax dollars.

"I'm humbled, I'm grateful, I'm proud to serve in such a way," Gergen said.

Pemble, 66, is retired after 37 years with Xcel Energy's Prairie Island nuclear plant. Pemble is married to Dolores, owner of The Spool House. He is the father of four Hastings High School graduates.

Pemble said that he is happy to be elected, but he knows there are some big challenges ahead. Those challenges include the issue of declining enrollment in the district.

"We really need action is what we need to see," Pemble said.

Pemble said that he is ready to stand up and take on the challenge and participate in the community that has given so much to him.

Waits, 31, is a former statistical consultant and mother to two children. She is married to Chris Waits.

"I'm ready to jump in and be part of this and I'm really humbled by the community's decision to elect me," she said.

Waits said that she is excited to start work on a long-term plan for the issue of declining enrollment. She would like to see the district work with other areas of the community to address the issue.

Blissenbach, 56, is a program manager. He is married to his wife Renee and the father to seven children. Blissenbach began serving on the school board in March as an appointed member. He was the only candidate to run for the special election two-year term.

"I'm very appreciative and humbled to serve on the school board and serve the community," Blissenbach said. He said that he is excited to get to work with the group of people on the board.

Michelle Wirth

Michelle Wirth graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 2013 with a degree in journalism and web design. She worked as a web content editor for a trade association before coming to the Hastings Star Gazette in 2016.

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