By Brittany Lieberman /Managing Editor and Ana Maria Ramirez / Starr Writer
Tracy’s Bar and Grill in Long Beach was crowded Tuesday night, April 8, with supporters of LBCC Foundation Director Virginia Baxter who won the Area 5 seat on the Board of Trustees, defeating former LBCC Greg Slaughter.
The numbers kept rising during the evening. Baxter gained 55.70 percent and 6,253 votes while Slaughter pulled in 44.30 percent and 4,973 votes.
Among the crowd was former Long Beach Mayor Ernie Kell, who served from 1984-1994. He said, “She’s the best and an outstanding lady. The City College needs someone like her.”
One of the challenges that Baxter came across at the beginning of the campaign was not being able to reach people over the phone. She decided to go door- knocking and was much more effective than passing out fliers and brochures as she personally spoke with more than 1,000 people, Baxter said.
LBCC President Eloy Oakley arrived about 11 p.m. to join the celebration: “I supported her since day one that she declared to run the election. I’m here to congratulate her. So far the results suggest she’s a winner. We will see.”
As the night progressed, the crowd grew larger with more enthusiasm. Retired LBCC Dean of Student Life and athletics John Fylpaa was cheering all the way with his positive energy and said, “She is the person who understands the college inside and out and understands the big picture. Ginny will be one of the strongest Board members that we have ever had.”
One of Baxter’s goals is to increase the transfer rate to universities and figure out on how to achieve that. She wants to communicate more effectively with the public in regard on how the vocational programs work and what to expect out of that education. Baxter also hopes to increase the students who apply for scholarships and resolve the parking issues on Clark Avenue.
More than 50 supporters of Slaughter showed up to his campaign headquarters at the El Torito restaurant on Lakewood Boulevard.
Slaughter, a 66-year-old retired LBCC professor and former lieutenant for the Santa Monica Police Department, said his campaign was focused on slowly bringing back the bulk of vocational programs cut in 2013.
Slaughter’s campaign manager and an LBCC political science professor of 21 years, Ken Graham, said Slaughter’s campaign revolved around a “dedication to transparency and putting an end to the two-tier Winter and Summer tuition system.”
The employees’ unions’ political action committee chair and LBCC sociology professor of 17 years, Janet Hund, said, “This campaign has been an amazing experience because we actually worked together and believed in each other, instead of stabbing each other in the back.”
The headquarters shut down at 11 p.m. with Baxter leading in preliminary votes. Slaughter said, “I’m very disappointed, but I’m satisfied in knowing we gave 150 percent. I love LBCC and that’s the only reason I ran.
“I learned so much about my community. Going door-to-door and talking to my constituents and their issues was a very valuable experience,” Slaughter said.
The trustees manage a $105 million budget, approves all hiring and set policies for the college. Baxter will take office on July 22.