Photo by Chung Chow
After the first couple of ballot boxes were counted, it looked like there could be several new trustees on the Richmond Board of Education who ran on anti-SOGI platforms.
But by the end of the night, it appeared there would be some change to the board, but nothing so drastic that it could shift the district’s sexual orientation and gender identity policy intended to protect students.
Although the results will not be official until Wednesday, Oct. 24, it appeared that both Alice S. Wong and Eric Yung would not be returning to the board.
Instead, newcomers Heather Larson and Richard Lee would be taking their spots, with only the latter indicating he was anti-SOGI.
Ken Hamaguchi was at the top of the polls, with fellow incumbents Sandra Nixon and Donna Sargent rounding out the top three.
In addition to Heather Larson, incumbent Debbie Tablotney was also re-elected to the board, with former trustee Norm Goldstein, who lost his seat on the board in 2014, making a return, winning the seventh and final spot on the board by a margin of 170 votes over Karina Reid.
Wong, who finished 276 votes behind Goldstein, advocated for more review and discussion about SOGI 123, the sexual-orientation and gender identify policy aimed at creating a safe environment for all students.
“We really can’t define what SOGI is, (and) what the SOGI policy is. I don’t want people to just make up different looks,” said Wong, who was elected in 2014 with 11,259 votes.
During her campaign, Wong said that school trustees needed to regain the trust of parents by listening and respecting the parents’ opinions regarding SOGI 123, and that more communication was needed.
“I think so many parents’ voices are coming out now,” she said Sunday.
Wong hopes to continue to lend an ear to parents and their concerns, and volunteer in the community.
“I have this group that asks me for help, so I will get back to volunteering and help the parents, (and) help them understand the candidates and the public school system.”
Wong also plans to return to run for trustee in 2022.