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New Council Member Eager To Serve
Newly elected council member Cal Campbell is looking forward to serving on the City Council for the City of Riverbank. - photo by VIRGINIA STILL/THE NEWS

Newly elected Riverbank City Councilmember Cal Campbell won the June 4 special election with 1,124 votes. Campbell has been fighting for a seat on the Riverbank City Council since July 2012. Eleven months of hard work has finally paid off for the retired teacher.

Originally the council had two vacant seats to fill in November 2012. Campbell came in a close third place to incumbent Jeanine Tucker and newcomer Darlene Barber-Martinez. A new vacant seat became available after councilmember Richard O’Brien was voted into the Mayor’s seat. O’Brien’s councilmember seat was a four year term and will expire in December 2014.

“I feel very good about it because I really feel that I have a chance to do some good for the city and the council,” said Campbell. “I got a tremendous amount of support from the community.”

The election cost the city a little over $57,000 and Campbell believes that cost to the city could’ve been avoided.

“I am sorry that they didn’t appoint me only because I came in so close in third place and we just had an election,” said Campbell. “I really feel that the people that wouldn’t support appointing someone on the council, made a bad judgment in the long term because it cost us some money and the outcome was the same.”

During his campaign, Campbell had a few family and friends that helped out, but he did 75 percent of the work himself. He walked door to door to meet the people in the community. Campbell and his wife also attended several community events, more than they ever have.

“I felt my hard work paid off,” stated Campbell. “I am retired, I’ve got the time, skills and ability and I need to step forward and do what I can while I can.”

He said he decided to run for office because he didn’t see the city making much progress and there are things that need to be done. He is familiar with the items on the agenda because he has attended almost every council meeting and some of the training sessions since last July.

“I am ready to go to work,” said Campbell.

Campbell has been a Riverbank resident for 30 years and his wife has been a resident all her life. Her mother’s family came to Riverbank in the 1920s. His wife even has a street named after her and she was with the first Class of 1968 to graduate from Riverbank High School. She was a teacher in Riverbank for 29 years and is now retired.

Although Campbell has only lived in Riverbank for 30 years, he is no stranger to Oakdale or the Central Valley and has had ties to Riverbank his whole life. He graduated from Oakdale High School and taught in Oakdale for 35 years. His experience ranges from working on ranches to canneries to teaching and being an administrator for the Oakdale School District. Campbell was President of the Oakdale Teacher’s Association and library director. His duties included budgets, creating policy, programs, and training staff.

Campbell is already looking ahead to the future and plans to run again for a full term once his partial term expires. The short term will not give him the time he needs to get all the things he would like to see done within the community, he explained.

“I am looking forward to even learning more and hoping that I can be the person that breaks these (council vote) ties and we go in the right direction when we do it,” stated Campbell.