BEEVILLE – When the Coastal Bend College Board of Trustees next meets, there will be some fresh faces among the group.
Mercy Flynn, Sid Arismendez and Eloy Rodriguez all won election to the college’s board last week and will join Victor Gomez, Martha Warner, Carroll Lohse and Taylor Tomlin on the board.
Rodriguez unseated Jeff Massengill, the board’s vice chairman, for the Place 3 trustee position by 193 votes.
“I want to work to better the college and make it a better place for our students to go and learn and move on to a four-year college or get their certificate to join the workforce,” said Rodriguez, who also thanked Massengill for his service to the college and for running a clear and fair campaign.
“I’m pro-student. I will do my best to help them succeed.”
Massengill held a 205-vote edge in early voting, 2,860 to 2,655, but Rodriguez easily made up that ground in absentee voting (616 to 309) and then won Election Day voting by 91 votes, according to the unofficial numbers released by Bee County Elections Administrator Laura Warnix.
The election totals aren’t considered official until they are canvassed by the elections office.
Rodriguez is an alumnus of the school, which was known as Bee County College when he attended. He spent his entire adult life in education, including stints as a principal in both the Pettus and Beeville school districts.
“I’ve always been in education. My adult life has basically been in education,” he said. “I know all aspects, from kindergarten to college.
“I feel like I can make a positive contribution, not only to the college, but to the people of the Coastal Bend and especially the students of the Coastal Bend.”
Arismendez beat out Gerardo Quinones for the Place 2 position, which had been filled by appointee William Whitworth after Trace Morrill vacated the seat to become county judge.
“I think it’s great,” the local attorney said about winning the election after multiple unsuccessful runs over the past several years.
“I’ve advocated for change. I think there’s a lot of positives things that we can do.
“... I look forward to working with the new president. Dr. (Justin) Hoggard seems like a nice man. He’s really committed to making a difference, and I’m glad.”
According to the unofficial numbers, He won his seat by 900 votes, earning at least 54 percent of the vote in all three voting categories: absentee, early and Election Day.
“I want to heal a lot of the problems that have occurred with past administration and our local (school) districts,” Arismendez said about his goals as a trustee. “... I’m hoping to work closely with the local school boards within our county and kind of woo them back, and say, ‘Look, we’re here, and we want to help your students.’”
Flynn was unopposed in her run for the Place 1 seat which was previously held by Dela Castillo, who chose not to seek reelection.
The Beeville Independent School District Board of Trustees will also have a new face at its next meeting with the election of Art Gamez.
Gamez, whose son is the chief of the school district’s police department, unseated Kevin Behr in the race for the board’s trustee at large position.
“It’s an opportunity for me to give back to the community,” Gamez said about winning the seat.
“... I want to see the children, the students, of Beeville ISD succeed in the classroom. I want to make sure we’re providing the teachers the resources they need.”
Gamez held the edge in all three voting categories, winning by 12 percentage points over Behr.
Pete Martinez won his reelection bid in Sub-District II by nearly 600 votes over challenger John Gonzales.
“The goal has changed somewhat because of the pandemic, but it’s always to make BISD the best,” Martinez said. “We might have to use new methods to reach our goals.
“I hope that, in the future, we’re looking at the test scores and all the academic measurements and feel really proud of those. We’ve got some work to do there, but it’s not for lack of effort.”
Eddie Salazar will also return to his seat on the board. He was unopposed in his run in Sub-District I.
Gamez, Martinez and Salazar will join Leti Munoz, Darryl Martin, Theresa Arthur and Orlando Vasquez on the board.
In Skidmore, Brian Koenig, Rick Olivares and Wes Rix won seats on the Skidmore-Tynan ISD Board of Trustees.
Koenig won 26.47 percent of the 2,029 total votes cast, while Olivares won 24.3 percent to earn reelection to the board.
Rix edged out Andrew Lemon by 32 votes for the last of the three spots available on the district’s board.
In Pettus, Shannon Grayson, John Hodge and Jaime Rodriguez won seats on the Pettus ISD Board of Trustees.
Grayson, who served on the district’s facilities planning committee and is currently the vice president of the athletic booster club at the district, earned the most votes combined between Bee and Karnes counties in her bid for a seat on the board.
Hodge, the leading vote-getter in Bee County, won his reelection bid with the second-most votes, while Rodriguez also won reelection.
Marissa Benavidez-Gonzales finished fourth, nearly 200 votes behind Rodriguez for the final seat.
Grayson, who served on the district’s facilities planning committee and is currently the vice president of the athletic booster club at the district, earned the second-most votes in her bid for a seat on the board.
The race for seats on the Pawnee ISD board is yet to be determined. The district said it was not releasing the unofficial numbers it received from voters in Karnes County.
In Bee County, Pete Dobson received the most votes with Gwen Hesseltine receiving the second-most. John Tollackson and Julissa James were tied in the unofficial results released by Warnix.