Six of seven candidates vying for two open seats on the Victor Valley College Board of Trustees participated in a candidate's forum hosted by the Hesperia Chamber of Commerce at last Friday morning's Coffee Club event.

The five were incumbent Joe Range, who owns Range RV in Hesperia; former Hesperia mayor Jim Lindley, the county purchasing director; Angela Valles, a human resources director; Joyce A. Sweet, an educator; Carl R. Tate, a Realtor/developer; and Tony Penna, a power plant developer.

Range said that the board, despite facing several challenges, has made ample progress over the three years he has served.

"It's a long road. We're not done yet," Range said.

Range added, "I think the selection of Dr. [Robert] Silverman [as college president] was very important."

Lindley, who served on the Hesperia City Council for eight years, credited the college for jump-starting the careers of he and his wife, Sue Lindley, career a decade ago.

"I believe the Victor Valley College gave us a second start at life."

Lindley earned two associate of arts degrees at VVC, a bachelor's degree from Cal State San Bernardino; and he is working on a doctorate in public adminstration from University of La Verne.

Valles, who is a part-time instructor at VVC and serves as president of the High Desert Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, also credited the college with helping transform her life.

"When I was 16 I found myself pregnant and with only a ninth-grade education. That's when I enrolled at VVC," Valles said.

After earning her GED, she worked her way through college, eventually earning bachelor's and master's degrees.

"I love fixing dysfunctional organizations," Valles said. "I have the skills and passion to fix the college."

Sweet credited Dr. Silverman for being "a good person" and embracing "sustainability" as a core value. However, she was critical of the current board, especially Range, who as served as board president.

"As a board member I believe his [Joe Range] time has past," Sweet said.

Tate said his background as a senior executive in the health care industry and owner of the local Exit Realty office would serve him well as a board member.

"I've developed strong working relationships with local leaders, county leaders and state leaders," Tate said. "There's no learning curve for me. I can step right into the position."

Penna, who heads up Inland Energy's Victorville office, said he has the experience and ability to help redirect VVC.

"I've seen serious problems out there, and I could solve them," Penna said."I believe I have a vision of a school that is second to none. Presently it is not living up to its potential."

Elections are Tuesday, Nov. 6.