After Saturday’s election, there is no question whether or not Odessa residents are tired of the status quo.

Voters elected to unseat three Ector County Hospital Board incumbents, while an additional trustee position was uncontested and filled by a write-in candidate. With four out of seven trustees being brand new, the makeup of the hospital board has substantially shifted – and hopefully in a better direction.

In 2016, the Ector County Hospital Board (ECHB) came under fire after stripping healthcare benefits from hospital retirees. Board members claimed that the cuts were needed to balance the hospital’s budget; however, only months before the board had approved the purchase of over $2 million in new properties saying they were needed for “potential, future growth.”

Both the board members’ priorities and their ability to make sound financial decisions were questioned by many in the community – including those that ended up challenging, and defeating, those very board members in Saturday’s election.

Of the seven total hospital board districts, District 1, District 3, District 5, and District 7 were included on the ballot.

Bryn Dodd of District 1 defeated Judy Hayes, a 25-year veteran of ECHB, by a shocking 80 percent. Dodd told reporters that her motivation to run came from her father – a hospital retiree who was stripped of the healthcare benefits he was promised upon employment.

Other candidates included: Adela Vasquez, a write-in candidate for District 3; Don Hallmark of District 5, who defeated six-year incumbent David Nelson; and Ben Quiroz of District 7, who defeated 20-year incumbent Virgil Trower.

While the background, age, and experience of each candidate differed in their own regard, they all seemed to be motivated by two primary issues: the need for fiscal responsibility and an evaluation (and refocus) of the hospital board’s true priorities.

Lauren Melear

Lauren Melear leads the West Texas Bureau of Texas Scorecard. When not working, Lauren enjoys spending time with her husband and their dog, as well as cooking, working out, traveling to the hill country, and cheering on the fightin' Texas Aggies.


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