Judy Craig and Jennifer Coen won in races for seats on the West Volusia Hospital Authority, besting challengers who disagreed strongly with the Hospital Authority’s liberal funding of organizations that deliver health care to West Volusia’s poorest residents.
The two campaigned together for Hospital Authority Group A, Seat 3, and Group B, Seat 1, respectively. Craig earned 58,606 votes to opponent John Hill’s 44,324, or 56.9 percent of the vote to 43.1 percent.
Coen decisively prevailed over her opponent Michael Ray, with 64,051 votes to Ray’s 37,383, or 63.1 percent to 36.9 percent.
While Coen and Craig both won with large leads over their opponents, the two races for the WVHA Board had more than 20,000 undervotes, or ballots where voters left the WVHA races blank.
Craig and Coen ran on platforms of expanding care for West Volusia’s most vulnerable people by way of the Hospital Authority’s ad valorem taxes.
Coen said she was looking forward to joining the Hospital Authority Board.
“I just want to thank the voters of West Volusia for entrusting me with this responsibility,” she said. “I look forward to being a good steward of our taxpayers’ money.”
Craig said she was excited to stay on the WVHA Board, and happy to see that she and Coen beat out their opponents, Hill and Ray.
“I said, ‘May all the women win!’” Craig said.
In the past several years, the Hospital Authority’s existence has come under fire from some past board members and candidates. Craig said she believes with Coen and herself on the board, they can fend off any attempts to dissolve the WVHA.
“I would say that we have enough votes to override any kind of attempts to get rid of the Hospital Authority,” Craig said. “I think we have enough votes that will support the programs that are so important to the residents that need that care. I think we have the majority in our hearts and minds to do what’s best for the human beings that we care about.”
Craig and Coen watched results come in together at the Colt’s Pig Stand restaurant in Orange City with some volunteers from their campaigns and others.