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Venie Soares, Lead Reporter

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Four candidates vie to give voice to the College of Sequoias Board of Trustees. 

Two open Board of Trustee seats will be filled in the mid-term elections on Tuesday, Nov. 2. The Board establishes school policies, adopts budgets, and approves expenditures among many other duties. The terms are generally four years. 

The Ward 3 seat is short term. Vacant because of the early resignation of Earl Mann, it runs until 2020.  V. Wayne Hardcastle and Ray Macareno square off to represent the northeastern part of the district which includes Woodlake, Cutler and Orosi. 

Mr. Hardcastle is a self-employed attorney who has spent almost 20 years on the Woodlake High School Board of Trustees. 16 of those years as President. Prior to his entry into law, he worked in finance at Bank of America. 

At Woodlake High, he was involved in two bond issues that provided the construction of a student events center and gym, classrooms, a counseling center, performing arts center, an Olympic-sized swimming pool and sports facilities. 

“I have many years of experience in budgetary matters. I know what it takes to meet a regular payroll. I understand business and the collaborations that are often required to ensure success. My door would be open. I am willing to learn from anyone who might offer insight.” 

Ray Macareno wants to focus on community outreach, partnerships, and reducing barriers. He wants to help students maximize financial aid, scholarship opportunities and encourage smaller, rural areas to seek the benefits of higher education. 

He used his experience in consulting, business and marketing as interim Executive Director of a local Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber was suffering from a downfall of support. Macareno built new relationships and mended those that needed the reassurance of the value of the Chamber. 

“I have a range of work experience that includes being a small business owner and working for a Fortune 100 company. For myself, the voice of the community can overpower personal feelings I have. If it is the will of the people and the advantages are clear, I would advocate for the community.”  

Alfred Benavides and John Lehn meet to replace retiring John Zumwalt, in Ward 5, the western part of the district that includes Hanford. The seat runs until 2022. 

Alfred Benavides has over 35 years of administrative experience in Hanford and the Bay Area. He’s run programs for Santa Clara Public Health Department, San Jose United Way, and the Housing Commission of San Jose. He has held 15 Board of Directors positions. 

He was catalyst and convener of having San Jose invest $23 million in urban development. When COS and Hanford Joint Union High School District collaborated on infrastructure building, Benavides was involved in planning and budgeting. On this project, he worked with COS Past-President Bill Scroggins, Sierra Pacific High School, city of Hanford, county administrators. 

 

 

“I’m cognizant of the need to incorporate increased technology and work with high-tech leaders like Google. I have personal connections with Larry Paige, co-founder of Google. I understand the differences between monetary and fiscal policies and the reconciliation program budgets.”                                 

Mr. Lehn is a former COS graduate, Giant of the Year, inductee into COS Hall of Fame and a member of the Superintendent’s Community Advisory Committee. He spent 41 years as Director of Kings County Job Training office and 21 years as President/CEO of the Kings County Economic Development Corporation. In these positions, he was directly responsible for multi-million dollar budgets. 

As City Councilman and Mayor of Hanford, Lehn was responsible for approving budgets, monitoring expenditures, projecting costs and developing policies that created annual spending plans an multi-year Capital Improvement Plans. 

“I will bring experience, sensitivity to student needs, institutional familiarity and an understanding  of the regional economy. The beauty of the participatory governance process at COS is the process itself. It is designed to ensure all parties affected by a decision have a place at the table, where policies and spending priorities are discussed. “

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In their own words