Serving the community in a greater way

Don Dumas runs for midterm elections and wins majority of votes


Nico Gatten

On Dec. 12, BVH Ethnic Studies, Black Student Union (BSU) advisor and boys’ basketball Head Coach Do Dumas talks to his fifth period AP class. He discusses about the history of african-american voting history.

Bonita Vista High’s (BVH) Ethnic Studies, Black Student Union (BSU) advisor and boys’ basketball Head Coach Don Dumas ran against Rosemarie Ballard for Southwestern Community College District (SWCCD) Governing Board (GB) Member Trustee Area No. 5 in the midterm elections.

Midterm elections were held on Nov. 8. Since then, the official vote had been tallied on Dec. 8, Dumas led with 66.17% of votes to Ballard with 33.83%. 

“[Dumas and Ballard] were both running for seat [five] at the College Governing Board, which is part of the newly drawn districts,” President of SWCCD’s GB Roberto Alcantar said. “Seat number five is the area of the community college district, [they were] running for the seat that represents the section East Chula Vista.”

In prior years, GB members were originally elected from voters living in the whole service area of the GB, ranging from Coronado to East Chula Vista. This midterm election divided the five members into five separate districts within the service area.

“This was the very first year that districts had the opportunity to elect somebody that represented their community,” Chief of Staff Zaneta Encarnacion said. “In area [five] for the Board of Trustees, Dumas was able to show through his work on the board [the previous half term] to the voters that he was the right choice.”

Dumas had been appointed two years ago to fill a vacancy on the board for half a term. Alcantar was one of the members that voted him on. He decided to run again this year after being encouraged by stakeholders and other members of the board to stay so he could run for a fully elected seat on the GB. 

“The reason why I personally selected Don to be one of the people appointed to the board was his passion for community [and] understanding the issues that impact our community the most,” Alcantar said. “He is an educator and understands our education system. He’s someone who grew up in our communities and knows what our student needs are.”

According to Alcantar, Dumas has excelled in assisting the community and demanding a need for change. Alcantar explains how Dumas has demonstrated his will to bring his full support through  thick and thin, presenting new ideas and policies.

“I decided to run so I can serve the South Bay community in an expanded way. Teaching [and coaching] in high school, serving the community, community service events and activist things that I’ve done is serving the community,” Dumas said. “But serving on the Governing Board gives me a chance to serve the community in a different way. Southwestern College is the only higher education system in the South Bay; the opportunity to affect change there was very intriguing to me.”

Being a GB member means having to make decisions for the SWCCD. The GB consists of five board members who run the SWCCD from a higher level, which Dumas found to be fascinating. 

“We [the GB] set the policy, goals and vision for the college district. We also supervise and assess the job done by the President-superintendent of the school,” Dumas said. “We give direction on what we would like to see done [and] also take staff’s recommendations for hiring and sometimes terminating people. ”

Alcantar explains how he strongly feels Dumas is essential to the SWCCD GB. Dumas brings a unique perspective to the GB which helps expand representation.

“In order to be better representatives, it’s best to have diversity on the board or be able to reflect communities. We serve a large number of African American black students and faculty,” Alcantar said. “Being a Latino majority college, sometimes those voices can get lost or don’t feel like they have a representative. Having Dumas on the board as an African-American male means a lot to our community and to us.”

“In order to be better representatives, it’s best to have diversity on the board or be able to reflect communities”

— President of SWCCD’s GB Roberto Alcantar

The community needed a fresh voice who they could relate to. and Alcantar describes Dumas as being a great leader for the community. Not only was it Alcantar who supported Dumas, but the thousands of people in the South Bay community who placed their votes for him. Alcantar voices how he was not surprised by the outcome of votes Dumas received. 

“I was not shocked because Don is an incredible person who has been out in the community. He’s well respected in the community and so they know what his values are,” Alcantar said. “They know what he stands for and people in this area spoke loudly and said that he is the best choice for our district. We’re very happy with that.”

Ballard and Dumas brought their own ideas when running for the SWCCD GB. To Alcantar, Dumas’ values stood out most while better reflecting the new and evolving community. There was no surprise for Alcantar as to how Dumas won, he expressed Dumas being a representative for all communities.

“Don’s opponent came in with some pretty far right extremist views that don’t reflect the community. Our community is a progressive community that really believes in equity in education, wanting to build better opportunities for students,” Alcantar said. “So people voted overwhelmingly for that choice.”

Another deciding factor for voters was Dumas’s 14 years of experience as an educator. He is an experienced educator who is running for a position that oversees decisions impacting higher education. 

“I’m not going to lie, I did anticipate winning because I was like ‘I’m there already,’ the incumbent has an advantage in an election. And my experiences are more geared towards education, so I thought I would win, but I was surprised by the margin,” Dumas said.

As surprising as the outcome of 18,044 to 9,225 of votes is, Dumas has prepared himself with plans for the future. He explains that in this new term he’d like to see a dramatic increase in dual enrollment with the Sweetwater Union High School district (SUHSD). 

“Our college district and our high school district here can do a much better job of getting our kids concurrently enrolled so that when kids finish high school, they can already have their associates,” Dumas said. “We only have about six or seven hundred kids that are getting credit at Southwestern College while enrolled in the [SUHSD] district. That number should be 4,000.” 

Dumas expresses how there’s a lot of work to be done to concurrently enroll students. Dumas additionally shares that he is prepared for what he has to offer to the SWCCD GB members. He does not expect the path to be easy, but shares that he will continue to grow as time allows him to and only time can tell where he will end up.

“No one knows what the future holds and what these next four years might entail. But any way that I can serve this community, which I love so much, I’m going to do,” Dumas said.