Richmond Sentinel file photo
Ken Hamaguchi sought a seat on Richmond School Board four years ago believing he could help makes things better for local students.
It’s still what motivates him.
But after getting the most votes (17,196) in Saturday’s election of trustees, he also has a heightened sense of expectations.
“We just went through re-visioning our core values as a school district, outlining our want for Richmond to be the best place to learn and live,” he said. “But I also want it to be the best place to work at too. I’ve learned over the years working with kids with special needs that if those people who work for kids are supported, they are going to do that much better of a job with the kids. As much as the kids are our focus, their success is dependent on those who work with them.”
Hamaguchi, who ran as an independent in the 2011 election, formed the Richmond Education Party this time around in hopes of advancing a team mindset inspired by his longtime involvement in local sports.
“We really worked hard to get out there and talk to people,” he said. “Our members did a lot of door knocking and meeting people, and we all supported each other. I think that was one of the big reasons for our success (as Richmond Education Party candidates finished first, second, fourth and fifth in the polls).”
The idea of an education party also stemmed from Hamaguchi noticing the lack of a “block” of candidates dedicated solely to school board issues.
“(Traditionally) trustees have been kind of a subset of the council parties,” he said.
Hamaguchi said the Sexual Orientation and Gender Policy (SOGI) is one that is clearly “at the emotional heart for people.”
“No policy is perfect, but we’ve voted on it and now we need to implement it. It addresses a request for support, and I’m sad to say, protection for some of our students in the LGBT community. This policy was important to them, which we’ve tried to explain to (those) people against the policy.”