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GOP leader Jay Kramer’s wife in school board race


Alla Kramer’s unexpected last-minute entry into the Indian River County School Board race in District 5 probably came as no surprise to her husband, Jay Kramer, the county’s Republican Party chairman.

But it certainly did to former Indian River Shores Mayor Brian Barefoot.

Had she not filed, Barefoot, a retired college president who started his campaign in February and said he had never heard of Alla Kramer, would have been pronounced the unopposed winner of the seat.

But now, Barefoot and Alla Kramer are facing off in an Aug. 18 nonpartisan election for the School Board seat being vacated by Tiffany Justice.

Barefoot clearly sees the hand of Jay Kramer behind his wife’s candidacy, citing a grudge that dates from Kramer’s time on the Vero Beach City Council, when Vero and Indian River Shores were at odds over the sale of the city’s electric utility.

“He does not like me at all,” Barefoot said about Jay Kramer. “This goes back to when I was mayor of the Shores and leading the lawsuit against the city and he was trying to hang onto the electric business.

“Jay, I’m sure he’s going to advocate for his wife,” Barefoot said. “I’m sure there are plenty of people he influences that he will encourage to support her, but I’ve got a few supporters as well, so we’ll see. Education ought to be nonpartisan. It’s why it’s a nonpartisan race.”

Jay Kramer described Barefoot’s claims about a political grudge as “foolish” and “irrelevant.”

In his role as Republican Party chairman, Jay Kramer said, he would not play favorites.

“Typically, we don’t get involved in the primary races,” Kramer said about the Republican Executive Committee. “We can’t endorse one candidate over the other, especially when you have multiple Republicans running.

“This really is not complicated, and I don’t see any conflicts at the current time,” Kramer. “We play by the rules and that’s what we’ve done. I have not taken advantage of the situation.”

Alla Kramer, a former president of the Women Republicans of Indian River, declined to address questions about party politics and her husband’s role in her campaign.

“I’ve decided to run for the School Board because I care about the future of this community,” Alla Kramer said in an email response to questions.

“I have two children who went through the Indian River County school system,” Alla Kramer said. “I have a Master of Arts in Education and have been a teacher. I’ve been a volunteer in the classroom for 10 years. I know firsthand the issues, expectations and concerns we face here.”

Justice, who had previously declined to disclose whether she intended to seek a second four-year term, delivered an emotional farewell address during the June 9 School Board meeting.

Justice was loyal to former Superintendent Mark Rendell, who left the district under pressure from the School Board majority over concerns about financial and personnel mismanagement.

“I think the school district has had an enormous amount of controversy and chaos over the past four years, and I think there has been an effort to attribute some of that to me – which I know is not true,” Justice said. “I do not believe a divisive, contentious election is what’s best for kids right now.”