Once the final votes are counted, Taylor, a Navy veteran, will likely become the first Black resident elected to public office in the City of Encinitas, according to a city spokesman.
Taylor, who also works as an administrator for Encinitas 4 Equality (E4E), will serve on the Encinitas Union School District (EUSD) Governing Board, covering several schools in Encinitas and Carlsbad.
Taylor’s candidacy and subsequent success came after several local civil rights groups have pushed for racial equity and social justice across North County following the death of George Floyd.
Taylor has received 17,752 votes, or 28% of total ballots cast as of Thursday, Nov. 12. So far, 63,404 votes have been cast for six candidates vying for two seats on EUSD’s board, with runner-up Jodie Michele Williams trailing Taylor by 3,251 votes.
Taylor and his wife, Beth, have lived in Encinitas for 13 years with their two children, Lores and Isla, who attend public schools in EUSD and San Dieguito Union High School District.
After 20 years as a cryptologist for Naval Intelligence, Taylor’s record of public service now extends to his local community.
According to Taylor, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, civil rights protests and a lack of local representation for minorities inspired him to run for the school board.
While his top priority is finding a way to “return students and staff to campuses in a manner that’s safe for students, for teachers, and for home care providers,” Taylor said he also supports introducing further conversations on equity and social justice into established curriculums.
Prior to establishing his campaign, Taylor noticed a spectrum of discomfort among Encinitas residents when speaking about racial issues in North County.
“It led me to the realization that if we start speaking to our kids early about these topics, they’ll grow up to be adults comfortable talking about it,” Taylor said. “We can teach math, science, reading… all of those established courses and just add equity and diversity into the conversation.”
As vote counts trickled in on Nov. 3, Taylor saw the wave of support for Democratic candidates as an affirmation of his beliefs and a result of the efforts of civil rights groups like E4E leading up to Election Day.
In particular, E4E helped organize public events and rallies in support of progressive and equity-based issues, many of which aligned with Taylor’s campaign.
“I saw my numbers and thought, ‘Wow, that’s pretty cool.’ Then, I looked down and saw Encinitas incumbents were also winning, which was even better,” Taylor said. “Finally, I looked at the Board of Supervisors numbers and that’s when I felt the most excited because it’s been 30 something years since the board’s leaned left. This is going to be huge for our county.”
On Nov. 1, E4E hosted a branch of the national “50 Mile Run for Justice” along Coast Highway 101 in Encinitas, attracting runners, cyclists and walkers from cities across the country, including Los Angeles, New York City, Baltimore and Philadelphia.
Kristin English, a member of E4E’s Business and Electoral Committee, attended the event encouraging voter participation and literacy throughout North County.
“[E4E] created a voter guide from the perspective of people of color, outlining each proposition on the ballot,” English said, standing beside homemade posters. “It’s so hard to know how to vote on all these things and we wanted to simplify it for people.”
Taylor also shared his personal campaign experience during a post-election rally on Nov. 4 in Escondido hosted by North County Equality and Justice Coalition, a regional supergroup of several racial justice organizations.
“My hope for Encinitas over the next four years is that we, as a city, develop a reputation for being a welcoming and inclusive city worth sharing,” Taylor said. “Because most importantly, we want people to come and enjoy the things Encinitas has to offer.”