NORWALK – Voters in the Cerritos Community College District selected four women -- three incumbents and one fresh face -- to sit on the board of trustees for the next four years.
With four seats up for grabs on the seven-seat governing board for Cerritos College in Norwalk, voters nearly kept all the incumbents. However, former Norwalk councilman and longtime board member Robert "Bob" Arthur was narrowly defeated in a race that was often too close to call.
In Trustee Area 1, which includes portions of Downey, Norwalk South Gate and Bell Gardens, Arthur lost to newcomer Martha Camacho-Rodriguez, an education specialist and school teacher.
First elected in 1995, Arthur was seeking to serve a sixth term in office.
With 100% of the precincts reporting, Camacho-Rodriguez earned 42.86% of the vote (5,567 votes) while Arthur collected 41.81% (5,431 votes).
"Words cannot express what I feel right now, but just know that we have so much more work to do together," said Camacho-Rodriguez. "I look forward to collaborating with everyone on the board in order to create the change we all wish to see for Cerritos College."
In Trustee Area 2, which includes portions of South Gate, Downey, Bellflower, and Norwalk, Carmen Avalos held onto her seat, winning 61.07% of the vote against three challengers. Avalos was first elected in 2012.
Dr. Tammy Ashton, who came in second with 21.39% of the vote, thanked supporters on Wednesday for helping her launch her campaign.
"I will not have the pleasure of serving our Community as a Cerritos College Trustee," she said. "I truly had a fantastic experience running my campaign and having the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people."
The remaining challengers, Luis E. Melliz and Claudia Carmen Murillo, each received 10.8% and 6.6% of the vote respectively.
In Trustee Area 4, incumbent Marisa Perez won reelection overwhelmingly collecting 72.3% of the vote compared to her opponent Ken Glenn, who received 27.6%.
Perez was elected to the Cerritos College Board of Trustees in 2012 and will continue representing Trustee Area 4, which includes Hawaiian Gardens and portions of the cities of Lakewood, Bellflower, Cerritos, and Long Beach.
Perez currently serves as the board vice president.
In Trustee Area 6, Dr. Sandra Salazar also won reelection, earning 51.1% of the vote against two challengers who split the remaining vote.
Rosa Barragan and Tom Chavez received 28.7% and 20.1% of the vote respectively.
"We campaigned with honesty, integrity and more importantly -- we campaigned with a shared vision about what we'd like to see Cerritos College be in the future," said Salazar.
"The theme always being the great community story that we are always stronger together as community...[we] will restore the word community to Cerritos Community College."
After completing a year-long research fellowship at the Mayo School of Health Sciences in Minnesota, Salazar received a Doctorate in Medicine from Saint Louis University of Medicine.
She completed her medical training in Los Angeles where she currently works as a family physician.