Hernandez, Colgan claim Cornelius City Council seats
Luis Hernandez and John Colgan will serve as Cornelius city councilors beginning in 2019, unofficial election results Tuesday night, Nov. 6, indicate.
Hernandez and Colgan lead the field with 40 percent and 34.8 percent of the total vote, respectively. The third candidate in the race for two open seats, security guard Andrew Dudley, trails with 23.7 percent.
Hernandez ran the most visible campaign for City Council. A member of the city's planning commission, a high-level advisory board often viewed as a proving ground for would-be city councilors, Hernandez also works in emergency management for Portland General Electric. He is the only Latino candidate in the race.
"That, to me, was a big driver for all of this," said Hernandez of his new role as Cornelius' only Latino councilor-elect. Census records show a narrow majority of city residents identify as Latino or Hispanic.
Hernandez added, "It's not only about getting our voice, necessarily, in there, but it's also about carrying the weight and doing the work."
Hernandez said he is looking forward to getting to work and making the transition from planning commissioner to city councilor.
"I think that the town center planning stuff has a lot of momentum, and there's a lot that we can accomplish with that," he said, referring to Cornelius' downtown master planning effort.
Like Hernandez, Colgan has also served as a city volunteer, sitting on Cornelius' budget committee. He teaches math at Neil Armstrong Middle School in Forest Grove, just outside Cornelius city limits. Throughout his campaign, he said he hopes to be replaced in 2022 by a candidate who will bring more diversity to the all-male, majority-white City Council.
Colgan could not be reached immediately for comment.
A candidate forum last month at Centro Cultural didn't shed much light on the differences in each candidate's vision for Cornelius. All three said they want to increase the rate of civic participation among Latinos, ensure all of Cornelius' residents feel safe at public meetings and events, improve walkability and economic vitality in Cornelius' blighted downtown corridor, prepare for growth and development in Cornelius' neighborhoods, and bring together a community that is often seen as divided along racial, economic and school district boundaries.
Regardless of the outcome, the gender composition of Cornelius' all-male council will not change. The city is one of few in Washington County that does not have a woman serving as mayor or city councilor.
Councilors Jose Orozco and Harley Crowder declined to seek new four-year terms, leaving a wide-open race for both seats this fall.
Mayor Jef Dalin filed for re-election but did not draw an opponent. Unofficial results show him winning easily.
Editor's note: This story has been updated with remarks from Hernandez.
By Mark Miller
Editor, Forest Grove News-Times
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