Neal holds narrow BOE lead

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Marcia Neal

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Jill Brake

Republican Marcia Neal held a narrow lead against Democrat Jill Brake early this morning in the race for the State Board of Education seat representing the 3rd Congressional District. The race was too close to call as of press time.

Neal led by a little less than 8,000 votes, with nearly 280,000 votes cast for the seat being vacated by Slickrock Republican Pamela Jo Suckla.

The 3rd Congressional District is a massive district that covers nearly 29 counties, including the state's entire western border and extending as far east as Jackson County in the north and Las Animas County in the south. Routt County is part of the district.

Local voters supported Brake, who took Routt County by about 2,000 votes.

Neal is a career teacher and served on the Mesa County School Board for eight years, until 2005. She now serves on the board for the Mesa County Public Library.

Brake is the commissioner for the Colorado Department of Higher Education for the 3rd Congressional District. She has also served eight years on the Colorado Association of School Boards, where she was president in 2001, and three years on the National School Boards Association in Washington, D.C. Before that, she served for eight years on Pueblo's school board.

The seven Colorado Board of Education members, elected by congressional districts, serve without pay for six-year terms. During their tenure, board members set the budget for the state education department, distribute state and federal funds and approve statewide education standards. The board also creates policies to govern public schools and public libraries and oversees educator licenses.

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