By Samantha Bartholomew
Candidate Ben Johnson has dropped out of the race to represent Area 4 on the Board of Trustees.
The Area 4 seat represents Perris, Mead Valley, Southern Riverside, Lake Mathews, El Cerrito and Southern Corona. The seat is currently held by Trustee Janet Green, who will be retiring once her term is completed.
In light of his withdrawal, Johnson announced that he gave his endorsement for Brian Hawley in the November race.
“Brian and I have similar goals and shared values. We would have been building parallel campaigns,” Johnson said in a statement. “I feel it is in the best interest of students, the Riverside Community College District and the community for us to unite in purpose – early in the process – and encourage voters to support a leader with a long record of local community service and not a ‘political’ candidate whose goals and values may differ from ours.”
Johnson said that his initial plan to run for the RCCD board stemmed from his passion for education, his longtime experience on the Alvord Unified Board of Education and a deep desire to continue serving students.
“My passion for service has not changed,” Johnson said. “I will continue to support education, locally as well as through an opportunity I am pursuing at the national level.”
The campaign now comes down between Hawley, who has built his campaign off of his understandings of the local job market and the value of graduating well-educated students with strong practical skills, and Jose Alcala, who seeks to expand job training programs, maintain fiscal accountability and increase education accessibility for all students in the district.