Retake Our Democracy’s First Endorsement: Miguel Acosta for SF Community College Trustee

This race is critical for the working families & the youth of our community: a chance to elect a visionary, compassionate, razor sharp advocate to the SFCC Board & Eliz. Warren isn’t the only one with plans. Miguel does too.

Miguel Acosta for Santa Fe Community College School Board Position 5

It isn’t often you can recommend someone for office where you actually know the person very well. Most often, you go by recommendations from others or from campaign ads or statements on mailers or by meeting the candidate at a house party, where you can get a better view of the candidate, although even here, the situation is staged.

We don’t often devote a full post to one single issue, but we did today. Because we have a jewel of an institution in Santa Fe Community College and that jewel needs to become more accessible to all of our community. Miguel Acosta will make sure that happens.

Miguel Acosta is one of Roxanne and my absolute closest allies and advisers. He understands the dynamics of power and the chemistry that can create or undermine community. He understands poverty and how it impacts people, especially young people. And he has spent a career in Chicago, in Albuquerque and here in Santa Fe working with youth and the educational institutions that serve them. And he has some plans to put “community” in the community college.

So, today I begin with my personal endorsement: I can’t recall being more confident in a vote I have made ever before. So often, you fill in the circle and then a year later, you find yourself saying: “Really? I didn’t see that coming.” That will not happen with Miguel. And so I encourage you not just to make sure you vote for Miguel, but that you share this with some friends via email and social media. There is nothing more frustrating than stepping up to the voting booth and seeing three names you don’t recognize at all. So, you will be doing your friends a favor by preventing that in this race. For Santa Fe Community College Board, Position 5, please vote for Miguel Acosta and tell others to do the same. This vote will be decided by a handful of votes, so your vote will count.

But today I offer more than my personal endorsement. Last night, the Retake Leadership Team voted unanimously to endorse Miguel. One of our LT members had alerted me before the meeting that he would like more information on the race before committing. On his own he went to the interview I did with Miguel for our Saturday radio show. The meeting started out with: “I withdraw my concerns. I listened to the radio interview. We should endorse Miguel.”

To listen to the podcast, click here.

And so below I share with you what Miguel provided to the League of Women Voters:

Experience. I have 30 successful years in higher education, the last 15 at UNM’s College Enrichment Program, increasing student retention, graduation and community engagement. My focus was on low income, first generation, rural and traditionally under-served students, exactly like those served by SFCC. I worked extensively with faculty to integrate student success skills in content classes and I helped organize a staff union at UNM.

Challenges. Community Colleges are at a crossroads, as are other public institutions and the communities they serve. I have spent the last 15 years engaged in multicultural community and civic leadership development. SFCC has a critical role to play in this work, but it will take leaders with broad, deep, locally integrated skills and experience.

Solutions. Our work must be public and local. We need to be present in the lives of our constituents by actively collaborating with community learning and development opportunities. Just as SFCC partners with business and industry, we also need to partner with community based organizations, barrios, traditional villages and Native Communities, PreK-12, other governmental bodies, regional colleges and universities and the state in a unified vision and action plan for the future of Santa Fe.

Board Transparency. We need to engage more faculty, staff, students, residents, and other governmental entities, including tribal and traditional, in the development and deliberation of potential policies and practices.  There should not be anything voted on by the Board that has not been made familiar to our constituents. Participatory budgeting and similar strategies must be adopted so that important decisions include those most directly impacted. Accountability encourages transparency, as does a balance of power and authority.

I noted above how I had recently interviewed Miguel for one of the Retake shows. Please listen in, if you want to find out more about his plans for bringing the community college into the community. In the interview he describes how many residents of Santa Fe’s poorest neighborhoods can only get to SFCC by taking 2-3 buses–not an easy to hurdle if you are juggling two jobs. That is why Miguel would like to see the community colleges offering classes at elementary, middle and high schools, where residents can access classes by foot and without adding 90 minutes of bus time and bus fares to take a single class. If you want to hear more of his ideas click here to listen in.

In solidarity,

Paul & Roxanne

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