On February 22nd, Run Women Run members held live interviews with women candidates before voting on whom to endorse for their upcoming races.
This round of Run Women Run endorsements was exciting – despite the fact that only 3 local races were considered. In the end, two women seeking re-election won endorsements for community college boards and one millennial was endorsed for her first-ever run for elected office.
Run Women Run is a non-partisan political action group that recruits, trains and supports pro-choice women for elected and appointed offices. The endorsement process and mobilizing to support endorsed candidates are at the core of Run Women Run. Anyone can attend endorsement meetings, but only members in good standing for 30 days or more may vote.
Our newly endorsed candidates are:
Candidate for: San Diego City Council District 9
Sarah Saez proclaims to be, “never a politician, always an organizer.” But, in her current role as Program Director for the United Taxi Workers of San Diego, she was instrumental in their news-worthy win of lifting caps on the number of taxi permits issued by the city. Now, literally 100s of people have asked Saez to run for elected office – to which she said yes.
Though young, Saez has years of experience in serving the disenfranchised – from being a hospice worker in the Dominican Republic, to organizing Florida farm workers for better pay. She has her Masters Degree in Non-Profit Management and serves on several community boards including the Foundation for Change and the Mid-City Community Advocacy Network.
Saez is in a six person race for the District 9 seat – which represents an intensely diverse demographic with challenging needs. Her detailed plan to make District 9, and San Diego, “Affordable, Safe and Green,” can be found here. Her impressive list of awards and accolades is worth reading, too.
When I asked Saez why she is the best choice for this job, she brought up her leadership experiences and education – plus, added, “As a woman of color, worker, renter and one of many university graduates with student debt, I also understand what it means to struggle to make ends meet. Because of both my personal, academic and professional experiences, I believe that I am the best choice to lead as District 9’s next Councilwoman.”
Candidate for: San Diego Community College District Board of Trustees, District D
Mary Graham has served 2 terms on the San Diego Community College District Board and represents District D which, as she explains, “is a minority majority district” that spans Kensington to Encanto, and beyond. Her Masters in Creative Writing led her to become an English Professor, while her 25 years of teaching and designing student programs led to her 3-time inclusion in Who’s Who America’s Teachers.
Mary is giddy and articulate about her role as a community college board trustee. She was so delighted to take audience questions at the endorsement meeting that she jumped up and down! She understands how policy and practice influence students and their communities. Her top priorities in office will include:
- Expanding the SDCCD College Promise Program pilot to cover fees and books for ALL new students. Tuition isn’t the only cost hurdle.
- Continue to address achievement gaps among ethnic, socio-economic, age and gender groups.
- Secure the opportunity for SDCCD to offer more workforce Baccalaureate degrees.
When I asked Graham why it is important to have a pro-choice woman in her position, she replied, “It is always important to have pro-choice people in office. It is important for community college health services to be able and willing to refer students to community facilities that can support their reproductive and other health needs – and their right to choose — which cannot be met on campus.”
Mary Kay Rosinski
Candidate for: Grossmont Cuyamaca Community College Governing Board Member – Area 4
Mary Kay Rosinski is running for a second term on the Grossmont Cuyamaca Community College Governing Board and is the current Board Vice President. She’s upfront in disclosing that when elected in 2008, “the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District was in turmoil. Millions of taxpayers’ dollars were being wasted by reckless lawsuits, hiring fiascos and outside consultants. Employees and the community were frustrated with the lack of transparency. I am proud to say that we have turned this District around.”
Rosinski is a passionate advocate for students, staff and educators and shares a love of teaching and team work. She is an award winning special education teacher in the National School District, where she served two terms as her teacher’s union president and chaired several committees, such as the Rolling Readers Program.
Area 4 covers populations from El Cajon towards Rancho San Diego, through much of Alpine. I asked what Rosinski wants to prioritize for her next Board term and she replied:
- Maintain a strong focus on student success, equity and access
- Ensure fiscal stability and stewardship
- Promote institutional quality and effectiveness
When I asked Rosinski why she should be re-elected, she noted the synergy she and her Board Members share and the alliances she’s built during her current term. She mentioned that the end of Prop 30, which provides temporary taxes to help fund education, will be challenging to their budget. But, she added that overall, “the improvements have been uplifting.”
Addendum: What About Community College Boards?
There are six community college boards throughout San Diego County, including Imperial Valley. Typically, these boards include a president, vice president, secretary, clerk, general board members and student trustees. Other positions, committees and sub-committees may exist as needed.
Even though both students and professionals are encouraged to serve on them, community college boards are often overlooked stepping stones to higher office. According to the American Association of Community Colleges, over 40% of all undergraduate college students are enrolled in a community college. No student body would be served well without a board to govern their school budget and programs, as community colleges are public schools that rely on state funding. Because they serve diverse populations and rely on state budgets, board members share a symbiotic relationship with state and local politics.
Community college boards can hire and fire their CEO or chancellor, create and implement school policy, define legal and ethical standards of operation, monitor student success and institutional performance, and maintain personnel relations while juggling the overlapping needs and resources shared between college and community programs. The most important responsibility of any board is to foster learning environments that prepare students for success.
When I asked Mary Graham how serving on a college board could lead to higher office, she explained that in her experience: “You learn to focus on policy. And as your work brings you into contact with the work of other public and private agencies and with the needs of the local workforce, you become better grounded in the strengths and challenges of the district, region, and state.”
Next Round of Endorsements
Our next round of Run Women Run endorsements will be historic, never before has the membership endorsed a candidate for the American Presidency. Plus, many other popular races will be considered – from San Diego City Mayor to California Assembly and Congressional races. Come early for a seat, we expect standing room only. Join us on Monday, March 21.
Published March 08, 2016