Entire slate of Voces Unidas Action Fund-endorsed candidates win School Board and Trustee elections
Voces Unidas Action Fund congratulates the 11 endorsed candidates on their victories in Tuesday's election. Every candidate our organization endorsed won his or her race - including our seven Tier 1 school board candidates. As a result of this election, there is now historic, first-ever Latino representation on the Colorado Mountain College Board of Trustees and on the Lake County School District Board of Directors.
Our endorsed candidates who each won their respective races are:
Summit County School District
Vanessa Agee – At-Large
Consuelo Redhorse – At-Large
Julie Shapiro – At-Large
Gayle Jones Westerberg – At-Large
Lake County School District
Grayson Cooper – At-Large
Angel Bujanda Gutierrez – At-Large
Miriam Lozano – At-Large
Roaring Fork School District RE-1
Betsy After – District B
Lindsey DeFrates – District C
Jasmin Ramirez – District D
Colorado Mountain College
Gloria Perez – District 6
“We’re thrilled with the outcome of this election and heartened to see that voters agree with the progressive values we hold these candidates accountable for in order to receive our endorsement,” said Alex Sánchez, president and CEO of Voces Unidas Action Fund. “We are proud of the campaigns these candidates ran and of the contributions we made to support them. But we are even more excited about what the future holds for education in these school districts under the diverse leadership resulting from this historic election.”
Voces Unidas Action Fund offers candidate endorsements in school districts where Latinos make up at least 25% of the student population. We endorse and support candidates who are aligned with our values and who will champion the issues that matter most to Latinos.
While each of the candidates we endorsed expressed policy positions and a commitment to tangible actions to address the needs of rural Latino students in their districts, the hard work that needs to be done to ensure that our community’s students receive the quality education they deserve is just beginning.
Summit County School District combines experience with fresh perspectives
We believe the mix of re-elected incumbents and new leaders elected to the Summit County School Board is ready to tackle the challenges facing the district. Redhorse and Shapiro were re-elected after demonstrating a reliable record of supporting equity issues, while Agee and Jones Westerberg are known community leaders who are also committed to addressing student achievement gaps and moving the district forward in supporting our community’s students.
Enrollment is about 40% Latino in the 3,500-student Summit County School District, with a lingering, unacceptable achievement gap of more than 30% in math proficiency between Latino students and white students, and a 40% difference in English Language Arts. Redhorse, Shapiro, Agee, and Jones Westerberg have emerged as the most qualified leaders to address the inequities in the quality of education students currently receive in Summit County, and we look forward to working with them.
Historic election for Lake County School District
With the election of Bujanda Gutierrez and Lozano, the Lake County School District will see two Latino school board members seated simultaneously for the first time ever. Along with Cooper, these new board members have expressed their commitment to addressing the needs of all students, with an emphasis on addressing the equity issues that have kept Latino students behind in Lake County.
Those equity needs are significant in a district where some 66% of the 1,000 students are Latino. The achievement gaps between Latino students and their white peers (30% of the student population) measure at more than 40 percentage points in English Language Arts and between 20-40 percentage points in math, depending on grade level.
Both Bujanda Gutierrez and Lozano are current leaders with Voces Unidas and have participated in several of our programs. Working alongside Cooper and the other members of the Lake County School Board, we believe this leadership will result in positive outcomes for students in the district.
Incumbent and two newcomers will move Roaring Fork School District forward
As the only person of color on the Roaring Fork RE-1 School Board, the re-election of Ramirez preserves the institutional knowledge and clarity on the type of equity work that is desperately needed to address the district’s education-justice issues. After and DeFrates have established their commitment to addressing the achievement gaps and tackling equity issues in the district with urgency.
The minority-majority district of some 5,300 students is nearly 60% Latino, yet endures a roughly 40% gap between Latino students and white students in English Language Arts proficiency measured through standardized testing, and similar gaps (34-42% difference, depending on grade level) in math proficiency. We look forward to working with the recently elected board members to address those disparities and overcome conditions that have kept many district students from thriving.
A notable first at Colorado Mountain College
A recent graduate of the Voces Unidas leadership training program, Perez is the first Latina elected to the CMC Board of Trustees. She brings an understanding of the Latino community’s higher education aspirations and opportunities that has largely gone unrecognized in the absence of diverse leadership. We hope her election to the Board of Trustees establishes a new precedent as the first of many Latinos elected or appointed to vacant board seats and other important committees as CMC works toward living up to its promise as a “Hispanic serving institution.”
Our efforts are paying dividends
Voces Unidas’ political committees invest time and money in support of our endorsed candidates, and the election of our entire slate of candidates serves as resounding validation of our efforts. In the competitive races for Summit County and Roaring Fork District RE-1 school board elections, our political committees invested more than $45,000 in support of seven candidates. In total, Voces Unidas made more than 12,000 calls to left-leaning voters, sent almost 24,000 text reminders, sent mail to 14,000 households, and reached nearly 60,000 unique individuals through digital advertising.
We do this because we believe that when our neighbors and communities come together to support leaders who share our values, we can affect real, meaningful change. Learn how you can support our work at www.vocesunidasaction.org/elections.