As the Nov. 6 election approaches, it just takes one quick look at the ballot to know voters are facing a wide range of important decisions in this midterm election.
We have previously offered our endorsements for the 25th Congressional District (Steve Knight), 38th Assembly District (Dante Acosta) and Santa Clarita City Council races (Laurene Weste, Bill Miranda and Jason Gibbs).
While we are not choosing to endorse in every single race appearing on thez ballot, we do offer the following additional endorsements for your consideration as you contemplate casting your vote. And, even if you disagree with our endorsements on these or any other races, we strongly encourage you to make your voice count and make sure your vote is cast in Tuesday’s election.
Los Angeles County Sheriff: Jim McDonnell
Under Jim McDonnell’s leadership, the 18,000-employee Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has reduce violence against inmates, cracked down on deputies who engage in misconduct, shored up weaknesses in key department leadership positions, improved recruiting of new deputies — including the hiring of 2,000 deputy trainees — and increased accountability. All of this, while remaining tough on crime and strengthening protections for victims of human trafficking and gun violence. Sheriff McDonnell has our full support for re-election.
William S. Hart Union High School District Governing Board, Area No. 2: Bob Jensen
Nine-year board member Bob Jensen and his colleagues on the Hart district governing board have done an excellent job of creating an environment for student success in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Jensen, a certified public accountant, brings valued financial expertise to his role on the board and helps ensure financial accountability on everything from the annual budget to the ambitious capital improvement programs the district has undertaken, including the new Castaic High School, scheduled to open in 2019.
He is a key player in the district’s emphasis on career-technical education and is committed to providing students the facilities and resources they need to succeed in a changing world.
Saugus Union School District Governing Board, Area No. 1: Jesus Henao
The race for Area No. 1 will be won by a newcomer, as incumbent Paul De La Cerda chose not to seek re-election.
Of the three candidates seeking the seat, we endorse Jesus Henao, a Marines Corps veteran who owns a small local commercial real estate business.
He also has been endorsed by four Santa Clarita City Council members and state Sen. Scott Wilk.
Henao’s platform includes taking a strong stand on school safety, teacher empowerment, preventative drug and alcohol education, continued advancements in technology, cybersafety, upgrading the district’s learning facilities, and better teamwork and accountability in the district.
Saugus Union School District Governing Board, Area No. 2: Judy Umeck
While we’re glad to see some potential new faces on the SUSD board, it’s also valuable to have someone with the institutional memory of Judy Umeck, who has served one the board since 1996.
Having previously served on the board when trustees were elected at large rather than by area, she understands the importance of representing the entire district rather than just one corner of it.
A strong advocate for the district’s 2014 Measure EE facilities construction and modernization, Umeck looks forward to following through on overseeing the remainder of the projects to be built with Measure EE funds. She’s got our vote to do so.
Saugus Union School District Governing Board,
Area No. 5: Sharlene Duzick
In Area 5, we are advocating for a change: Sharlene Duzick offers valuable professional and fundraising experience working with organizations including Single Mothers Outreach, the SCV Chamber of Commerce, the YMCA and Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital.
She also has experience working with at-risk youth in the SCV.
She advocates collaboration among district leaders and faculty, as well as crafting a challenging curriculum that prepares children to succeed at the next level. Sharlene Duzick will be a welcome addition to the SUSD board.