Competition will be featured for two Oakdale Irrigation District seats this fall, including one post that is shared with the Escalon area in San Joaquin County. The seats are for four-year terms.
In OID Division 2, incumbent Herman Doornenbal Jr. of Escalon, who currently serves as vice president of the OID Board, is running for reelection. He is being challenged by Don Taro, a rancher who lives near Valley Home.
Division 2 includes parts of Oakdale, Valley Home and rural San Joaquin County near Escalon.
Doornenbal has served on the OID board since 2009 and was elected vice president in 2015. He is a rice and almond farmer with land in the Valley Home area. He also operates a custom farming business.
Taro served 14 years on the Valley Home School Board and is currently chairman of the Valley Home Community Park.
“My father, Tony Taro, was an OID director for many years, and I grew up attending board meetings and learning about the irrigation district,” Taro said. “I understand the needs of rural and city residents. I’ll be a hardworking, honest and community-oriented OID director.”
Division 5, covering southwest Oakdale neighborhoods, also reaches out to rural land on the south and west sides of the city.
On the ballot for that seat – which was vacated by former director Gary Osmundson when he moved out of the district – are former OID board member Grover Francis and Brad DeBoer.
“I’m a rancher, and I’ve lived my entire life in the Oakdale Irrigation District. I previously served on OID’s board, and I understand the district very well,” Francis noted. “I want what is best for our entire community, which requires the OID to protect our region’s water resources. That includes making sure our groundwater levels are not depleted because that’s where we get all our drinking water.”
DeBoer, who has farmed almonds for the last 22 years, has lived on Bentley Road since 2006.
“My years in contracting and farming give me the experience to be a good director for OID,” DeBoer stated in a flier promoting his candidacy. “I believe we must be forward thinking, wise and bold as those who have gone before us. We must develop new and innovative ways to increase our water supply.”
The other position available on the OID board, that in Division 3, will not have a contested race; current OID President Steve Webb initially indicated interest but later withdrew. The only candidate filing for the post by the Aug. 16 deadline was Tom Orvis, a farmer and legislative analyst.
Also on the ballot will be a race for the Valley Home Joint School District Board, a seat shared with San Joaquin County. Two candidates are vying for the one available short term seat; with Erin Wells and Mary Beth Carpenter both in the running. Wells is listed on the ballot as a registered dental hygienist; Carpenter is a student/agricultural foreman. The seat is for a two-year term.
Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 7.