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By Julian Peeples

Some people are just born to lead. This has to be why educators across the state are rising to serve their communities in the midst of multiple crises that threaten our collective health, safety and future prosperity. They’re campaigning for election like never before, finding new and creative ways to reach voters while maintaining safe social distancing and healthy practices.

We’re shining a light on some of these dedicated educators running for election during this chaotic time – leaders who are rising to defend our students and fight for the schools and community colleges they deserve. Here’s the next in this series: Roberto Rodriguez.

Roberto Rodriguez

Candidate for: Palomar College Board of Trustees

Experience: Educator with Sweetwater Union High School District since 1987; CTA Board of Directors, District P; Sweetwater Education Association member.

Why: I’m running for Palomar College Board of Trustees because I believe that community colleges play an integral part in fulfilling the promise of a public education. Palomar College plays a critical role in my community and is a vital resource in North San Diego County. Unfortunately, years of deficit spending and questionable decisions have put the college in danger. I feel my experiences as a teacher, a union leader and an advocate for public education have prepared me to face the challenges that are coming.

Top issues: My top priority is to bring the college’s budget under control. Years of deficit spending have created difficult decisions for the board. Second, there have been racial tensions on campus in the past, and I’m concerned that real and difficult conversations regarding institutional racism aren’t happening. Lastly, I’d like to bridge the trust gap that exists both on the current board and between the board and faculty on campus, as well as the community.

Distance campaigning: Campaigning has been a challenge. Being in the high-risk group for COVID means door knocking is out of the question for me. So, I’ve been making the “Zoom rounds,” virtually visiting Democratic clubs in my district, getting endorsements from labor and the Democratic Party, and using social media advertising. We are planning on phone and text banking, and of course the ubiquitous mail pieces.

Choosing to lead now: It’s because of the unprecedented crises that I feel compelled to contribute to my community. Not only the pandemic, which I think the college is handling relatively well, but I’m looking at the crises down the road — the ones we might have to face if the U.S. Senate fails to pass the HEROES Act or if we don’t find new sources of revenue like Prop. 15.

Website/social:; Twitter: @Roberto63; IG: @RodriguezforPalomar; Facebook page: Roberto Rodriguez for Palomar Board