Two College of Western Idaho trustees, including one of the community college’s founding board members, lost their reelection bids Tuesday.
C.A. “Skip” Smyser lost his seat in Zone 1 to Samantha Guerroro, who earned 55.2% of the vote in Ada and Canyon counties, and Mary Niland lost in Zone 3 to April Baylon-Mendoza, who received 51.3% of the votes.
In Zone 5, retiring state Sen. Cherie Buckner-Webb of Boise ran unopposed for the seat held by outgoing trustee Mark Dunham.
Symser, an attorney and restaurant owner from Parma, is the current CWI board chairman and a former state legislator. Guerrero ran for the seat to “ensure the voices of all students, including non-traditional students, are centered, heard, and supported,” according to her campaign Facebook page.
Niland, the retired CEO and founder of Witco, helped establish CWI in 2007, when she was appointed as a founding trustee. Baylon-Mendoza wants to push for the college to build facilities on the land it already owns to address the limited space issues students and staff are facing, according to her candidate survey this fall.
Baylon-Mendoza, a supervisor with the state of Idaho, said she has worked in management for the past 15 years and is “familiar with the needs of a large organization and often the biggest need is to change the culture and inspire others to improve it too,” according to her candidate survey this fall with the League of Women Voters of Idaho and the Idaho Press. “I also have three degrees from CWI, as well as my degree from Boise State. So I understand what it’s like to access the services at CWI and I know how much students need support. It’s time for the CWI to take it to the next level and I’m up to the challenge.”
CWI trustees are elected from zones within the CWI district, which covers Ada and Canyon counties. Citizens in both counties vote for commissioners in all zones.
The college employed over 1,000 staff members and served over 31,000 studentsin fiscal year 2019, according to its website. Its fiscal year 2020 budget is $71.6 million.
Idaho Press reporter Olivia Heersink contributed to this story.