Thursday, March 16, 2006


All in the Family

RSR has it on good authority that Iris Van Meter -- she's the right-wing incumbent Kansas school board member who announced yesterday she will not seek re-election -- has confirmed that Brad Patzer, a Republican who recently announced he will seek the 9th District school board seat, is her son-in-law.

"Oh, so you're going to keep it in the family, huh?" our source on the board asked Van Meter yesterday. Van Meter laughed and said "yes we are."

It would not be the first time the 9th District board seat was kept all in the family.

Van Meter is the mother of Kris Van Meteren who, in 2002 when she ran for election, was executive director of the Kansas Republican Assembly, a far right group that orchestrated behind the scenes support for right-wing school board candidates in the last several elections. Van Meteren spells his name differently than his mother, he says, to reflect his Dutch heritage.

Following her surprise election victory, Van Meteren said his mother purposely did not run a high-profile campaign until near election day. In fact, she did not campaign at all, until then.

"We decided to adopt a strategy to catch Val DeFever off guard," Van Meteren told the Lawrence Journal-World. "We kept it low-key and then worked hard the last 10 days."

Just one week before the 2002 election, a group calling itself Truth in Politics sent out a mailing attacking Van Meter's opponent Val DeFever. The mailing said that DeFever was “too liberal for Kansas Republicans” and “voted to force our children to be taught a one-sided, unproven theory (monkey-to-man evolution) rather than allowing them to hear both sides of that issue along with evidence for each and to choose for themselves what is right.” DeFever, the mailing said, was getting support from an atheist organization.

Not much is known about Van Meter's son-in-law Brad Patzer.

It is our understanding that until recently, Patzer taught economics, math, government and U.S. history at Mountain View Alternative High School near Coeur d'Alene in Northern Idaho. In 2003, he was named a $25,000 Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award winner.

RSR doesn't know where Patzer stands on the issues. We are eager to hear what he has to say about the state's science standards and the appointment of Bob Corkins as Education Commissioner. We'll reserve judgement until we know whether Patzer is a moderate or whether he's been living, like his mother-in-law, in his own private Idaho.


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