We Did It!

In the fall of 2016, I visited dozens of community college classrooms throughout San Diego County with a simple goal — register students to vote so young people would have more power and a greater say in their future.

I was quickly inspired by the conversations I had and knew I needed to do more. That’s why, when I heard about the San Diego Community College Board opening, I knew I had to run.

Nobody could have predicted that would be the starting point of a remarkable two-year journey that built a team and grew my family. And just about nobody predicted that journey would culminate in the electoral victory we are finally prepared to claim.

 

 

Despite Councilmember David Alvarez’s noble concession last week and an overwhelming wave of congratulations, I have not been ready to acknowledge that we won. This hesitancy was partly the byproduct of my athletic background (“the game ain’t over till it’s over”), and if I am being honest with myself, partly because I was not ready to say goodbye to our team.

Over the past year, many people told us we should quit running for this seat. And when we didn’t, they told us we would lose. Right to our faces. We never let them discourage us. I believed in our team, but I also knew the long odds meant we had to work hard and be laser-focused on the process of how we would run.

Our strategy: Never look beyond Election Day. Instead, build something that makes a difference — no matter how many votes are cast for us. (Fun fact: I still can’t tell you what the stipend is for this position and I just learned of the swearing-in date.)

So we did just that. We organized, we knocked on doors, we spoke to voters, we shared stories, we created immediate impact campaigns that put food on the plates of hungry students and we provided transportation to a working mom trying to earn a degree. For more than a year, day-after-day and month-after-month, we created something we could all be proud of.

Then, on November 6 at 8 p.m., the process was over. No more campaigning. No more early morning strategy sessions with our brilliant campaign manager, Maryan. No more canvasses with students who put the fear, anxiety, and challenges of being a college student aside because they wanted a better future for all students. No more evening email writing with my wonderful fiance, Angela.

On Election Night, the first numbers rolled in and we were incredibly proud of the clear difference our work had resulted in. By the next morning, we had fallen behind but remained hopeful. 

 

VIDEO: Watch #TeamElo’s first look at Election Night numbers

 

After tonight’s update from the Registrar of Voters, our team is proud to announce: we did it. We have gained ground with every update and it is finally time for me to acknowledge this leg of the journey is over.

I am eternally grateful to every single person who helped make this happen. The list is too long for a single email, but know that I write this with the most overwhelming sense of gratitude I have ever felt. And with an equally intense desire to make you all proud. 

The community college students and professors I spoke to in 2016 had a vision for a future where cost is never a barrier to education, and students and teachers have the housing, healthcare, transportation, and food they need to succeed. Now, because of you, I will have a chance to fight for that future as a Trustee. Thank you.