The Santa Clarita Valley Young Republicans have endorsed newcomer Patrick Hill for College of the Canyons board in the Nov. 8 election over incumbent Scott Wilk, a prominent local Republican activist.
Word of the decision came late Friday from SCV-YR Membership Director J.D. Kennedy, who said the group made the “surprising choice” because of Hill’s qualifications as a teacher and because Hill would serve a full four-year term. Kennedy’s statement noted that Wilk is planning to seek an Assembly seat, which “would require him to resign from the (COC) board in little over a year.”
Unmentioned was the fact that Kennedy is employed as the Veterans Affairs field representative to U.S. Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, and that McKeon’s wife, Patricia, is challenging Wilk for the Assembly seat.
Wilk was previously employed as McKeon’s district director.
Kennedy’s statement said the young Republicans at COC were also concerned about Wilk’s endorsement by the teachers union, “which also endorsed liberal Democrat candidate Diana Shaw.”
Shaw is challenging longtime incumbent Bruce Fortine for a separate seat on the COC board.
The Young Republicans endorsed Fortine for COC board and Fortine’s wife, Gloria Mercado-Fortine, for a return to the Hart School Board.
Incumbent Mercado-Fortine is vice president for education at Desert Sands Charter High School, where Hill is the director of special education. Hill is also a part-time adjunct professor with California State University, Bakersfield. He moved to the Santa Clarita Valley earlier this year.
The SCV-YRs also endorsed incumbent Steve Sturgeon for the Hart board.
Both Sturgeon and Mercado-Fortine have been endorsed by the Hart District teachers union.
In local elementary school board races, the Young Republicans endorsed incumbent Rose Diaz and challenger Steven Winkler for Saugus School Board; and incumbent Denis DeFigueiredo and challenger Priscilla Lofton for Sulphur Springs School Board.
The group also threw its support to Lynn Haueter in a GOP-only contest for chair of the Los Angeles County Republican Party. Haueter’s husband, Bob, is McKeon’s deputy chief of staff.