In the Third installment of the 2013 Texas Leftist Candidate Questionnaire, we hear from Kevin J. Hoffman, candidate for Houston Community College Board of Trustees, District 1.
Please note: Responses have been received directly from the candidate, and have been posted verbatim from the email received. This is done out of fairness to all candidates. Publishing these responses does not constitute an endorsement, but will be considered during the endorsement process.
TL: What is your name, as it will appear on the ballot?
KH: Kevin J Hoffman
TL: Are you a current or former elected official? If so what office(s)?
KH: I hold the office Harris County Democratic Party Precinct Chair in Precinct 207
TL: As a political candidate, you clearly care about what happens in certain levels of government. In your own words, why is government important?
KH: Government allows us as a body of people (City, State, Nation) to set rules as to live by, allows us to educate our young and workforce, set forth plans for how we move forward in our devolvement of commerce, transportation of goods and services. Government also set rules as how we enter into contracts or act with other bodies / groups of people in a hopefully peaceful matter, however governments and people from time have conflicts in which we must come together to defend ourselves and our city, state and nation from those that wish to take away our rights that we enjoy under the sets of rules that we as a city, state and nation have come to enjoy.
TL: If elected, what is your top priority in office for the upcoming term? Describe how you plan to accomplish it.
KH: I will work to bring back the public’s trust by making HCCS’ Code of Conduct and Ethics stronger. I will begin a dialog with the ISD’s, business community, and general public to better understand the needs of the Greater Houston Area. Based on these finding: I will build on HCC’s role in the training of tomorrow’s workforce and expand its academic credentials for those who want to transfer to higher level institutions. I will seek new programs that will nurture business partnerships and promote economic development, particularly within the area of Northeast College. I will call for HCCS and HISD and other school districts to begin a dialog about what the School Districts are doing correctly and most important the areas need improvement plans in area that students are lacking the skills and tools that they need. It is a major issue at HCCs that so many new students are not ready for the demands of college life nor do they have the basic skills needed be complete the course work required. I will work with my fellow board members to make sure that all employees of the college have as one of their health care options in their benefit package an (Employee-Plus-One Health Insurance plan). I will work to make sure this plan covers domestic partners for same or opposite-sex.
I will audit the number of classes offered at a given campus so students may complete a degree program within a two year time period. This lack of classes’ clauses students to drive or take public transportation to as many as four or five campuses in a given day to be able to take the course work required for a degree. Some students may also drop out due to the transportation needs. HCC can do better. Our students should be able to complete all basic courses at one campus.
TL: As our nation’s educational and professional landscape continues to evolve in the 21st century, institutions like HCC stand to be a critical part of that important process. In your opinion, is HCC ready for the monumental changes coming to education? What can the system do to best prepare?
KH: HCC can and should be in a major leadership role for the coming changes in education. HCC and the community must take a hard look at its self and our local ISDs. We must be willing to bring in new leadership to work foremost for students and their interest. The new leadership must follow the Rules and Ethics Guild Lines of the State and of the College in all matter before the college. This will allow HCC to Restore Public Confidence in the college and its leadership. The college must have an ongoing dialog with Houston and Harris County business leaders to find out more about the needs of the local workforce. HCC and the business leaders need to work together to design degrees and training programs that match local needs. Out of these meeting should also come a plan to assist the students with tuition reimbursement and other incentives. This dialog will nurture HCC’s business partnerships and promote economic development. HCC needs to better promote the Early College program and expand enrollment. This program allows high school students the opportunity to enroll in HCC courses while still attending high school and be able to graduate from high school and HCC at the same time. This program saves families money and can help make college dreams come true for many young people.
HCC needs do a better job at promoting all of its certificate programs for those that do not wish to complete a 2 or 4 year degree program. HCC also needs to do a better job with the Hire Houston First program. This a great program that awards contracts to our local businesses and in so doing puts local tax dollars back into the community. This program is a win, win for all parties. HCCS fits very closely into the totality of this program by: working closely with the business leaders to assist in the training of the local workforce on new skills that maybe needed for projects; creating new jobs in the Houston area for those workers that may be former students of HCCS; Contracts that are awarded locally also creates local second tier jobs like: material supplier jobs, restaurant workers, grocery store workers and other similar jobs that put money back into the local tax base.
TL: What makes you the best candidate for this office?
KH: My back ground as business professional and a community activist coupled with my high levels of ethics makes me the most qualified person in this race. In my more than 20 years working in the energy industry in Project Management, Land Administration, Contract Administration, Acquisition and Divestiture I have developed a sound, proven history and ability to handle multiple tasks and make sound business decision that are required of a HCC board member.
In my role as a civic and political activist I have lobbying local, state and national political leaders for positive change for the benefit of our community. I have worked to help kept clean blighted lots and buildings, work to keep bars and cantinas from opening near area schools and churches and help keep our young people out of gangs. I have worked with the public through neighborhood meetings, stakeholder groups, and community outreach as a civic club president and board member to various civic, political and governmental groups. I have also implemented community outreach programs for stakeholder groups. For this work I have received letters of appreciation from two Mayors and members of Houston City Council.
In my roles in business and as civic leader, civic and political activist I have always acted with the high ethical standers and will continue to do so.
I have the best overall understanding of the needs of the community and how to best engage the community. I am the best knowable to be able get the message out about how and what HCC can do for to help community members move forward by providing job training and higher education opportunities.
TL: When not on the campaign trail, how do you like to spend your free time?
KH: Gardening, working on community projects and spending time with friends and love ones
Thanks to Mr. Hoffman for his participation.