If the Alum Rock Union School District ever had a clearer choice for their newly vacant trustee seat, it would be now and it would be Raymond Mueller.
After a competitive, crowded election last November, Ray placed fourth in a three-seat race that had drawn eight candidates. Ray came behind the individual who won the third seat by only 447 votes (less than 1 percent), and beat out the two incumbents in the race.
It is rare that a board has the opportunity to appoint someone who has already been so thoroughly vetted by the community and received its support.
And when you look at Ray’s record, it is clear why the community supports him.
A longtime parent in Alum Rock, Ray has focused his attention on his son’s education. He has been an active and engaged parent on campus and in district governance. Ray personally understands how critical it is that the district provide students with a safe, high-quality learning environment—and he has worked to make it so.
Ray has served as chair of the district’s bond oversight committee for five years. During that time, and within the climate of uncertainty and distrust that voters resoundingly rejected last November, Ray has been vocal and steadfast in his commitment to ensure that taxpayer dollars were spent to benefit student learning.
As an openly gay man, who is married with a family, Ray will bring a crucial perspective to the Board at an important time—for the district and the broader community. Like other communities, the LGBTQ community has suffered in the current national political climate. LGBTQ people have been targeted and maligned. In this region, as many as 40 percent of homeless youth are LGBTQ. This is astounding. LGBTQ youth feel these traumas, and they deserve representation.
It was his dedication to the Alum Rock community, his appreciation of its rich diversity and firm belief that the community deserved better that motivated Ray to run last November. The community saw these qualities, and voted for Ray.
Of the eight applicants for the vacant trustee seat, there is only one who is qualified and who has already been vetted by voters. That is Ray Mueller.
The Alum Rock Union School Board should listen to the voice of their constituents and appoint Ray to the board of trustees.
Paul Escobar is president of BAYMEC, a four-county political organization that has advocated for the civil rights of the LGBTQ community since 1984 in the counties of San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Monterey. Tanya Freudenberger is a former ARUSD trustee. Opinions are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of San Jose Inside. Send op-ed pitches to [email protected].