Story and Photo By Kelli Reynolds/Staff Writer/@Kellidelrae
After a diligent campaign, Vivian Malauulu, a part-time journalism professor and longshore worker for the Long Beach and Los Angeles ports, was elected for the Board of Trustees Area 2 seat Tuesday, April 12, defeating incumbent Irma Archuleta, Malauulu was able to pave her own way, raising more than twice the money than Archuleta.
Malauulu led Archuleta with 59.4 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results posted by the City Clerk. The tally was 2,794 votes for Malauulu and 1,910 for Archuleta.
Malauulu credited her political consultant and strategist, George Urch, with guidance through the political process at all levels.
Archuleta said, “The area I work in is low-income and the people can’t become engaged in the process as easily, and the decisions made at the local level typically have a greater impact than at the national level.”
“She’s a people person who is very good at communicating, who ran a very grassroots campaign going door to door, neighbor to neighbor. She had a very broad-base support group behind her, led by the part-time and full-time faculty associations who worked very hard on the campaign,” said Urch.
Malauulu said in an email, the pressure of Urch’s perfect electoral record gave her a lot of the motivation to work so hard on her campaign.
Malauulu gained many endorsements from developing relationships with community leaders, neighborhood groups, labor unions and prominent elected officials. She secured support from the Los Angeles County Democratic Party and the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, as well as Latinas Lead California, a non-partisan organization that raises campaign contributions specifically to assist Latinas running for public office.
“A lot of people reached out to me after the appointment in 2014, and told me that if I decided to run, that they would pledge their support to me,” Malauulu said of Archuleta’s controversial appointment to replace Trustee Roberto Uranga, who was elected to the Long Beach City Council.
Former LBCC Dean Felton Williams, board president of the Long Beach Unified School District, was one of many elected officials to endorse Malauulu.
“I think we have the same philosophy about kids and education and that is that all kids in the district be treated fairly and equitably across the board,” Williams said.
At the party, DeAndray Griffith, 38, a chemistry major, said, “One thing that I noticed about her is that she is very personal. I don’t know if that will translate into her efficiency on the board, but I really do hope that it does.”
When talking about the low voter turnout Archuleta said, “As a candidate, we work really hard and it breaks my heart that people don’t vote. It is important to educate the people about organizations and the political process.” Malauulu said her proudest moment in the election was “having my family by my side the entire time from beginning to end.”
Malauulu takes office July 26, and will resign her post as a teacher at the college to avoid a conflict of interest.