Challengers defeat incumbents in race for trustee

Challengers+defeat+incumbents+in+race+for+trustee

Graphic from Jesus Chico

Elizabeth McLaurin, Staff Writer

Voters have elected two new trustees to serve on the five-member Contra Costa Community College District Governing Board. Both challengers for the seats, Judy Walters and Fernando Sandoval, emerged triumphant, ousting two-term incumbents Vicki Gordon and Greg Enholm.

While the election results aren’t officially certified until Nov. 30, both Sandoval and Walters hold commanding leads. To date, Sandoval is ahead by 9,704 votes in Ward 5 and Walters by 14,897 votes in Ward 2.

Sandoval, who ran against Enholm four years ago and lost, said announcing his intention to run much sooner helped bring more attention to his campaign. He also expressed gratitude for his many supporters, who he credited for his win.

“The key to success for my campaign was the support of the community,” he said. “I had 50 endorsements from educators, community leaders and the community college faculty who wanted change and to represent their voices for the future.”

After being encouraged to run for the Ward 2 seat, Walters said part of her campaign’s success was that the district was looking for fresh leadership and also acknowledged the impact of student reporting and faculty support.

“First of all, I think people were ready for a change,” she said. “I’m thrilled with the turnout and how supportive the students and the faculty have been.”

Although Sandoval and Walters will not be sworn in until Dec. 11, both have started preparing for the transition by speaking with board President Rebecca Barrett and reviewing previous board meetings, board policies, and trustee roles and responsibilities. They’ve also begun organizing plans for the priorities they campaigned on, both highlighting the pandemic as a key issue.

“We are facing critical challenges due to the COVID-19 health crisis and our colleges have had to develop unprecedented ways to educate students and to ensure our district remains solvent,” said Sandoval. “We need to continue to plan to adapt our strategies so that we are ensuring educational excellence and equity as we account for the impacts.”

Echoing these sentiments was Walters, saying that although COVID presents many challenges, she’s determined to work with her fellow trustees to address them.

“We’re still dealing with the pandemic,” she said. “There is a lot of work that needs to be done. We’re going to roll up our sleeves and do it.”

When reached for comment, Los Medanos College President Bob Kratchovil welcomed the new trustees and acknowledged the support of Gordon and Enholm during their two terms.

“We look forward to the experience and perspectives [Sandoval and Walters] will bring to these important leadership roles,” said Kratochvil. “The outgoing board members, Trustees Gordon and Enholm, have been very supportive of Los Medanos College over the years… I wish them well as they transition into different roles within our community.”

If you would like to read more about the new trustees, you can check out their campaign websites: Fernando Sandoval and Judy Walters. You can also see Sandoval and Walters in action when they begin their term Dec. 11 by using the Zoom link located on the district website. Agendas are posted 72 hours prior to the meeting and can be found at boarddocs.com.