There are plenty of opportunities to get to know local race candidates

Published in the September 26 – October 9, 2018 issue of Morgan Hill Life

Image result for Election Day 2018As the mid-terms Election Day approaches Nov. 6, Morgan Hill voters have the opportunity to listen to candidates in local city council and school board races and learn what they think about the issues that will impact their lives.

The various candidates in the Morgan Hill Unified School District board race will answer public education questions in a forum held Oct. 8 at Sobrato High School’s theater.

The event is organized by the AAUW and AAUW’s Future Women Leaders and by students who are members of the community service-oriented Interact clubs at Central, Sobrato, Live Oak and Oakwood high schools. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the forum starts at 6:30 p.m.

The MHUSD candidate forum will be divided into three segments. The first two segments will feature candidates Peter Mandel, Emma Nunez, Wendy Sullivan for Trustee Area 1; Tara Bevington, James Dill, John T. Horner, Enrique Navarro-Donnellan for Trustee Area 2; Heather Orosco is running unopposed in Trustee Area 3; Carol Gittens and Jill Provencal for Trustee Area 4. Robert Guynn, also a candidate for Trustee area 4, will not be participating.  Angelica Diaz and Vanessa Sutter for Trustee Area 5. Segment three includes incumbent Claudia Rossi and current MHUSD board member Gino Borgioli who will answer questions for the Santa Clara Board of Education Trustee Area 7 seat.

The Morgan Hill branch of the American Association of University Women is partnering with Morgan Hill Life and the Morgan Hill Times in a forum for city council and mayoral candidates. It will be held 6 p.m. Sept. 27 at the City Council Chambers.

The mayoral candidates participating are Rich Constantine and Greg Sellers. (Mayoral candidate Kirk Bertolet told organizers he would not participate.) Candidates for City Council District B are Ken Murray, Matthew Lowenstein, and Yvonne Martinez Beltran. The candidates for City Council District D are Julie Makrai Hutcheson, Marilyn Librers, and John McKay.

Image result for Election Day Gilroy LifeState Assembly District 30 candidates Robert Rivas and Neil Kitchens will address questions. Sheriff candidates incumbent Laurie Smith and challenger John Hirokawa are invited, but only Hirokawa will attend, according to AAUW organizers.

Cecelia Ponzini, founder of the Edward Boss Prado Foundation, is hosting an informal candidate forum starting 5:30 p.m. Oct. 5 at Mama Mia’s Restaurant. The event expects 22 candidates to attend to answer questions from the audience. They will be from the city council, school board, and county school board races.

Margaret McCann and Janet McElroy, members of the AAUW, are helping the Interact students organize the MHUSD forum, said Mario Banuelos, who is a Rotary Club of Morgan Hill member involved with mentoring the Interact clubs.

“They’ve done this before so they know what to do and they’ve really helped us with the logistics and everything,” he said.


The forum put on by a joint effort by the four clubs is intended to help students build their leadership skills and appreciate the democratic process, he said.

“It’s really good for the kids to get an idea of how other kids in other neighborhoods view things that could be different from their other own perspective,” Banuelos said. “They’re the future leaders, and it’s good for them to have this experience.”

The student-led forum also intends to encourage all local students to become interested in the school board race and, eventually, be engaged in participating in the democratic process, he said.

“When they see their peers stepping up and taking leadership roles, it inspires them to do the same,” he said.

Robert Airoldi

Robert Airoldi

Robert Airoldi is the editor of Morgan Hill Life newspaper. If you have a story idea or an Around Town column item you want to tell him about, you can reach him at (408) 427-5865 or at
Robert Airoldi