Five of the Seven seats on the Central New Mexico Community College Governing Board are up for election on Feb. 7.
BY JOHNNY VIZCAINO
Five of the Seven seats on the Central New Mexico Community College Governing Board are up for election on Feb. 7. The CNM Governing Board is responsible for policies that govern all phases of the educational program within the institution.
Here is a list of candidates running in this year’s election.
- Robert Chavez
Chavez is currently a supervisor with the structural department at Albuquerque Public Schools, and has coached various sports as well as serving as a “community-based” police officer. He did some studying at CNM.
“I care about the educational environment of New Mexico… I would like to work with board members, elected officials and the community to make quality education better and affordable for everyone.”
- Pauline Garcia, incumbent
Garcia currently serves as the vice-chair on the Governing Board, chair of CNM Board Planning Committee and member of CNM Board Executive Committee. She previously served as Secretary of the Board and Chair of the Capital Outlay Committee.
She is also the Board Chairperson of the New Mexico Education Association Foundation, and a board member of New Mexico Guaranteed Student Loans. She served two terms on the Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education starting in 1986.
“My entire political advocacy has been on behalf of public education, both at the secondary and post-secondary level… In New Mexico’s financial crisis, the mission of the College must be protected and I want to continue to work with the President and Staff to ensure that it is.”
Election will be for a two-year term to complete the remainder of the unfinished term which commenced in 2015.
- Thomas Swisstack
Swisstack is running unopposed after completing the term left vacant by Debbie Moore. Upon appointment in June 2016, Swisstack served on the Finance and Capital Outlay Committee.
“I would like to expand the Rio Rancho CNM Campus… I would like to see CNM increase outreach to local high school students to expand students’ awareness of all the opportunities CNM offers to improve their chances for success in life… I have long supported CNM because I believe it provides more affordable, flexible and often times, alternative career, technical and academic career paths for all the citizens of New Mexico.”
- Melissa Armijo Incumbent
Armijo is the Chair of the Audit Committee. She currently serves on UNM’s Staff Council as Co-Chair of the UNM Student Success Committee. She is the wife of former vice-chair, the late Mark Armijo.
“I have been serving now for 11 months and have found this appointment to be a commitment that has been extremely fulfilling to me and my family. I am deeply honored to represent the people of District 4 and I am prepared to continue to represent them.”
- Annette Chavez y De la Cruz
Chavez y De la Cruz was employed with CNM for 17 years as CNM South Valley campus director, Director of the CNM Job Connection Center, and as a representative with CNM Human Resources.
“During my time at CNM, I helped ensure student success and well-being at various levels, bettering the lives of so many… I built lasting relationships with many employers, organizations, and community members, which resulted in positive economic impact for the entire community.”
- Nancy Baca, Incumbent
Baca is a property manager and retired journalist who serves on the Audit Committee and Planning Committee. She is a precinct chair for the Democratic Party of New Mexico, and member of the Nob Hill Neighborhood Association.
“We must support job training for a changing economy and workforce development that spans an entire career… I will fight to protect affordable, quality education for those who need it most. And I will work to bring the latest best practices and innovations so CNM can continue to be a community college model for our nation.”
- Gina Naomi Dennis
Dennis owns and operates a sustainable company that focuses on green buildings and environmental protection. She was elected as a National Delegate for Senator Bernie Sanders at the Democratic National Convention in July 2016, and as a Board Member of the La Montañita Co-op Food Market in November 2016. She is a volunteer secretary for a coalition of Albuquerque Neighborhood Associations.
“Our community education system is broken, but with my new leadership we can lower tuition, make graduation rates go up, and establish farming programs and renewable energy programs to increase outcomes and jobs… I’ve spent my life fighting to protect the environment, strengthen local community organizations, and defend workers’ rights and the voiceless. “
- Michael Glennon
Glennon served as the president of CNM for ten years, from 1997-2007.
He has “spent his career making New Mexico a better place for students. And now, he wants to continue that work as a member of the Governing Board of Central New Mexico Community College.”
- Harold Murphee
Murphee is retired from more than 28 years of active duty in the armed services. He was an assistant professor with the Political Science Department at the Air Force Academy for four years. He was also an adjunct professor with the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs for a semester.
“(My experience) will bring a unique, fresh perspective to the Governing Board, enabling me – and all of us, for that matter – to greatly enhance higher education throughout our state.”
Johnny Vizcaino is an editorial intern at ABQ Free Press Weekly.