Rodrigo Flores is a 19-year member of IBEW 1245 and works at the Merced Irrigation District. As a Local 1245 organizing steward, Flores has been involved in a number of political campaigns to help get out the vote — and this year, he decided to embark on a campaign of his very own.
Flores is a candidate for the Weaver Union School District Board of Trustees, which is a small school district situated on the outskirts of Merced, comprised of one preschool, two elementary schools and one middle school. Flores himself attended school in the district, his son is currently a sixth grader at Weaver Middle, and his wife also works for the district as a teacher, so Flores has very close ties to Weaver Union.
Flores feels very passionately about working to improve the district for his own family as well as the many other families who work and go to school in Weaver Union.
“I’m running because I want to give back to the district. We’ve had the same people in in office for a long time here, and I think it’s time for a change,” said Flores, noting that the incumbent in his area has been in office for nine years. “I feel like I have a lot to contribute. I want to integrate the community more into the decision-making processes, and make people more aware of what goes on at the schools.”
“Rodrigo is both excited and nervous [about the election],” IBEW 1245 Staff Organizer Fred Ross reported from the field in the area of Weaver Union Flores is running to represent. “He really appreciates the help from the two teams of IBEW organizing stewards who have come out to canvass with him, and he credits the organizing steward program for his commitment to public service.”
As a municipal utility worker, Flores isn’t your average school board trustee. But he’s motivated to effect positive change for the students and school employees alike, and in his opinion, that’s the most important attribute that any political candidate can have. He hopes his experience might encourage other union members to seek local office as well.
“If someone feel strongly about making change, then they should just go for it and run for office!” he said. “Instead of being negative and griping about about problems that you see, run and do something positive for your community!”
UPDATE 12/1: It was an exceptionally close race, but when the votes were finally all counted, Flores lost to the incumbent by just nine votes.
“I want to thank my wife and my two boys for all the support,” he wrote to his friends on Facebook. “Thank you to [IBEW 1245 Staff Organizer] Fred Ross, and [Organizing Stewards] Mark, Matt, Aileen, and Hector at IBEW 1245 for the great help.”