Challenger for HSD board gets top report card


I’m so happy I could cry,

said Eugenia Sanchez after hearing she pulled in the largest
percentage of votes against four opponents
– three of them strong incumbents – in the race for the
Hollister School District Board of Trustees.
“I’m so happy I could cry,” said Eugenia Sanchez after hearing she pulled in the largest percentage of votes against four opponents – three of them strong incumbents – in the race for the Hollister School District Board of Trustees.

In her first run for the school board, Sanchez, who said she wanted to offer a stronger parental voice on the board, received 22.7 percent of the vote.

Incumbents Alice Flores and Dee Brown captured 22.2 percent and 20.3 percent of the vote, respectively, to win the other two seats on the board. Incumbent Harry Samuelson received 18.9 percent and challenger Ron Stubblefield 15.6 percent.

A total of 15,504 votes were cast.

Sanchez, 34, said she felt well-supported by parents, teachers and community members, but was surprised she did so well.

“I’m overwhelmed right now,” she said. “I want to thank everyone for voting for me and thinking I could do a good job.”

Brown was also happy to win, but leery of over 2,000 absentee ballots that will not be completely counted until Friday.

“It’s not over till it’s over,” she said. “I’m really glad Eugenia got on – her voice is needed.”

Surprise was another emotion Brown felt Tuesday night as she felt her controversial stance on the board would hurt her in the elections. Brown has served one term and has not been elected president by the other board members.

Brown is looking forward to working with the district’s new superintendent and new board member Sanchez.

Because Sanchez was ill last week, she was not able to do any last-minute campaigning. Brown received a lot of word-of-mouth campaigning, she said, but she didn’t want to bother people by calling their houses.

“I think it’s an invasion of privacy,” she said. “Everyone’s had so many calls in the past week. There was a lot of people talking to people who know me. I think that helped get me elected.”

Flores, who will serve her fourth term on the board, said she was pleased that she did so well and that voters must have agreed with some of her decisions.

Flores was hindered by a broken elbow in the weeks leading up to Tuesday’s election, but said she had friends hand out brochures about her. She said she wanted to be available for voters’ questions. The most frequent concern was over decisions made about issues at schools in the district.

Incumbent Samuelson was not happy with the results but comforted by the electoral process.

“I’m disappointed, but I accept whatever the voters want,” he said.

Samuelson, 74, said he thinks his age could have been on voters’ minds.

Although he holds out hope from the uncounted absentee ballots, Samuelson said he’s proud of the time he served on the board.

“It was a good 12 years,” he said. “I did a lot of good things.”

Stubblefield was reached by telephone Tuesday night, but because the final numbers were announced at 11:13 p.m. he was too sleepy to comment.

With Samuelson losing his seat, the board is composed of five women. The terms of Margie Barrios and Carol Cochran expire in two years. Board members serve four-year terms.

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