When I told my grandmother, a lifelong resident of Turlock, I’m running for the YCCD Board against the incumbent of twenty years, she became skeptical of my chances. We’re a family that takes pride in civic engagement, sitting around the dining room table with our ballots, having a spirited discussion about the consequences of our decisions. That’s why she knew the odds are stacked against newcomers looking to breathe new life into politics.
I’m running for YCCD because this community deserves new energy at the helm of our colleges, MJC and Columbia. Staff morale on campus is an abysmal low. The district has been plagued by accreditation issues that threaten to shut it down. Millions in state projects that could be awarded to districts are allocated elsewhere because of an absence of regional leadership in statewide affairs.
I don’t have a city park named after me, but my roots in this district run deep. As an alum of Oakdale High and MJC, I know what our community needs from our colleges. With years of lobbying experience in Sacramento, I have the connections and understanding of the Capitol that could infuse our programs with new dollars and transform our capacity to deliver an affordable and quality education to our community.
We have a brain drain problem, one that sees our brightest and hardest-working leave the Valley for other opportunities - and stay wherever lured them away. By reducing the costs of education, enticing businesses to the Valley by tying workforce needs to degree programs, and closing achievement gaps between demographics, we can retain our homegrown talent and limit our exports to agriculture rather than our talent too.
The Valley is known for its fertility — producing the food that nourishes the world. But it’s time for that world to give back with the resources that could transform our colleges to drive - rather than just respond - to local needs like those of businesses.
I believe I have the ability to bring together the parties that will achieve that brighter future. I hope by engaging with the community in further conversations, you’ll see that too.
— Kevin Sabo