With early voting starting next Tuesday, candidates for the Texas Southmost College Board of Trustees are finding ways to connect with voters and encourage them to go out and vote for their candidate of choice.
Local voters will have two options when it comes to the TSC Board of Trustees Place 1: incumbent Adela Garza and newcomer Jorge Luis Sifuentes.
“I’ve had two fabulous terms at Texas Southmost College that have been an amazing experience. The college has grown significantly in both students and staff,” Garza said in an interview with The Herald. “We have a great team and im ready to keep working.”
Garza added during her two terms at TSC, tuition has been lowered three times and there has been an all-time high student enrollment in the more than 90 year history of the college.
“If voters want proven leadership that focuses on fiscal responsibility and student success, theres simply no other choice,” she said. ” I would love to have continued enrollment increases and have more workforce programs in partnership with other community entities.”
When asked why he decided to run, Sifuentes told The Herald education is very important to him. Sifuentes is currently working on his master’s degree and wants to be involved in local politics to make a change on his community.
“Education is very important to me, especially special education, and I knew I wanted to be involved in local politics,” he said.
“I went back to school this summer to get my Master’s in Business Technology and Commercialization and so I have a strong commitment to want to help bring economic development here to Brownsville.”
Sifuentes said new leadership would help TSC do more for its students. He said he is all about teamwork, collaboration and experimenting.
“W here the school is in the next decade or two is really important and I think new leadership would help the school make those [changes],” he said.
“I like to build things and so I am all about teamwork, collaboration and experimenting. I feel like the college, the feeling, my impression of following the board for the last few years is that I feel like it is business as usual. The communication and the leadership could improve.”
For Place 2 local voters will have three options: Ancelmo Naranjo Jr., Alejandra Aldrete and Antonio Guevara.
Naranjo Jr. is a second generation TSC alum and said he can best represent TSC and the community.
“My experience as a business owner and education as a lawyer put me in the best position to create policy and manage budgets,” he said.
“I will work with the board to create opportunities that will have lasting economic family impact on our community.”
Alejandra Aldrete said her vast experience has given her the skills and experience across multiple disciplines needed to make a great addition to the TSC Board of Trustees. Aldrete describes herself as a “successful Classic Car ar Rental business owner and experienced teacher, administrator, and currently, as a Bilingual Curriculum Specialist.”
“I would like to see TSC continue to expand and offer more workforce opportunities to meet the demands of our growing community, focusing on the resiliency and adaptability as critical skills needed in our workforce during the pandemic,” she said. “I would also ensure that the opportunities take into account the student perspective, empowering students to help share the path forward at TSC.”
Antonio Guevara describes himself as ” a problem solver with financial acumen, experience in the operations of the college both inside and outside of the classroom.” He is the director of operations talent development at IDEA Public Schools.
“I am uniquely qualified to serve in this position because of my experiences, because of my educational background and because I am intimately familiar with the operations of the college,” he said.
When asked about his priorities if elected, he said he would like to focus on lowering tuition to make college accessible to more students.
“We need to continue to lower tuition because I believe the current tuition rates is still high relatively to larger cities in the State of Texas and that to me means that there’s a barrier for entry for a lot of our students here in what it is commonly considered one of the poorest communities in the nation,” he said.
For Place 4, voters have the option to vote for Delia Saenz, who is a graduate of TSC and says knows the importance of the community college in South Texas.
“I know that a community college here in South Texas is very important because I know that a lot of kids cannot afford to go away to school, so having this community of such great standard is really a plus,” she said.
“We had record enrollment this fall, we had very high enrollment, more than we expected, so a lot of great things are happening at TSC and I want all this continue. It is a wonderful time to be part of Texas Southmost College and I’m happy to be on the board to make some of these decisions.”