For one of the two new members of the El Camino Hospital District Board of Directors, sleep proved hard to come by Nov. 6.
Sunnyvale attorney Dennis Chiu, who received 17,427 votes to claim one of three seats on the board, recalled waiting with anticipation until 4:30 a.m. Nov. 7 to learn the final tally before celebrating.
“I was nervous,” Chiu admitted. “I’ve been involved with campaigns for a while now. You always know that anything can happen.”
Hospital district voters selected Chiu, along with incumbent John Zoglin and newcomer former Sunnyvale Councilwoman Julia Miller, to represent them on the hospital district board. Miller and Chiu are expected to take their seats in December.
A district board member since 2007, Zoglin was re-elected by garnering the most votes, 22,727. The field of five candidates also included incumbent Wesley Alles and Los Altos resident Bill James. Alles and James finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
Days after the election, Zoglin said he looks forward to collaborating with the board on impending issues such as implementing the Affordable Care Act and increasing hospital district transparency.
“I’m tremendously excited,” Zoglin told the Town Crier. “There’s a lot of challenges for us ahead with the changing health-care landscape and some of the changes we’ve been making over the past five years in terms of increased transparency and more.”
While Zoglin lamented the loss of Alles, a district board member since 2003, he said the additions of Miller and Chiu would bring “new blood” to the table.
“We’ve had a chance to meet a couple times informally,” Zoglin said of Miller and Chiu. “They’re both bright folks and they bring different points of view and insights.”
Miller told the Town Crier she was surprised by her victory, noting that the remaining district candidates outspent her on the campaign trail. Miller added that she’s ready to begin her work alongside fellow newcomer Chiu.
“I know Dennis Chiu and I’m very pleased he was elected. … He’s a fine young man,” said Miller, who received 20,510 votes.
Miller said her goals include “increasing transparency and accountability” in the way the hospital and district report finances. She said she plans to seek increased funding for the Community Benefits Program, which assists low-income district residents in need of medical care.
Chiu echoed Miller’s sentiments and said he’s also eyeing more collaborative agreements between the hospital and nonprofits providing health care to needy district residents, while emphasizing an increased focus on preventive care at the hospital.
“We may come from different backgrounds, but we’re all professionals,” Chiu said. “I think we’ll work effectively together.”