Nielsen topped Brian Fay, 51.67 percent to 47.68 percent, out of 6,720 votes cast.
“I kinda thought ... maybe I wouldn’t win because I didn’t have a bunch of school teachers on the telephone chain network all call each other saying, ‘Vote for Mr. Fay because he’s pro (Proposition 30),” Nielsen told Noozhawk. “And the deal is that Proposition 30 has absolutely nothing to do with me running.”
He said he spent $920 on his campaign — all out of his own pocket.
Fay said he wasn’t sure how much his campaign committee spent, but that contributions totaled $2,000 to $3,000 and came from community members.
This election was Nielsen’s first time running for a public office.
“I have a lot of homework to do, and I’m gonna study like crazy,” he said.
Nielsen will represent the Fourth District and serve with incumbents Peter Haslund of District 1, Marsha Croninger of District 5, Marty Blum of District 7, Lisa Macker of District 6 and newly appointed Marianne Kugler and Veronica Gallardo of Districts 2 and 3, respectively.
“It looks like I’m gonna be outnumbered 6-to-1 on the board if they keep voting the way they have been,” Nielsen said. “However, they have done some positive things.”
The newly elected trustee said he has been watching the board meetings online and attended only one meeting so far. The issue to be resolved and focused on should be the accreditation warning that SBCC was put on earlier this year, Nielsen said. He also plans to suggest a motion to make cuts within administration and not classes.
“I’ve been reading all the negative press that [the board] have had for the past two years,” he said. “I think they wasted two years and now have cut more classes than they needed to.”
Kugler, an SBCC Continuing Education student, and Gallardo, a McKinley School kindergarten teacher, are the other two new faces on the board. Running unopposed, they were appointed to their seats. Gallardo will be the only trustee representing the Latino population, which makes up 43.4 percent of Santa Barbara County’s population, according to 2011 statistics from U.S. Census Bureau.
Current members leaving their seats are Joan Livingston, Morris Jurkowitz and Luis Villegas.
The new trustees will be sworn in on the Nov. 6 board meeting and begin their terms in 2013.