TLCQ 2013: Endorsements in HCC Trustee Races

As the second-largest College system in Texas, and the 6th largest in the United States, Houston Community College is a pillar entity in Houston and Southeast Texas. Even for Texans that don’t directly attend HCC, they interact with students and alumni on a constant basis. It is an integral part of the educational life of Houston… almost as much as its progenitor the Houston Independent School District. HCC’s trustees are elected by voters in Houston and other cities within the school’s jurisdiction. For all of these reasons, Texas Leftist wanted to examine these races and issue endorsements for the candidates.

In HCC’s District 1, current incumbent Trustee Yolanda Navarro Flores is running for reelection. But given a torrid history with the HCC Board, including suing her fellow trustees for defamation, it’s no surprise that she has drawn two challengers in the race. It’s a sampling of many issues that have plagued the Board of Trustees in recent years. Both of her challengers, Kevin J. Hoffman and Zeph Capo, have strong records of public service. But in this race, Mr. Capo’s record in the classroom, especially in dealing with at-risk youth is what makes him stand out. His first-hand experience working with students not unlike many attending HCC would prove a great attribute to the system. The 2013 pick for District 1 is Zeph Capo.

District 3 has incumbent Herlinda Garcia with two respective challengers. Dr. Adriana Tamez is an educator with extensive knowledge of HISD and the K-12 system. But Dane D. Cook also has a wealth of unique experiences, both as a recent student of HCC, and as one of our nation’s veterans that would be of great asset to the school’s governing body. Many of the school’s current Trustees are so far removed from the student experience that their vision for the future of the institution can become uninformed by reality. It’s true he is the youngest candidate, but Mr. Cook’s leadership skills have been proven both in the theater of war, and transition back to American society. This is an experience that will continue to be vital to HCC as the war in Afghanistan draws down and our soldiers come home to face real-world decisions about the next stages of their lives. For many of Houston’s veterans, HCC will be a critical part of that journey. The 2013 pick for District 3 is Dane D. Cook.

District 5 has been mired in difficulty as well, following the resignation of Richard Schechter and later his interim replacement Leila Feldman, so it is certainly the hope that voters can find some stability for this constituency. As a native Houston and lifelong resident of the District, candidate Robert Glaser will be there to provide stable leadership. Bringing his experience in both public education and as a small business owner, he has been able to see the important role HCC plays in training the Houston workforce. As college costs continue to skyrocket, he also sees the benefit of reducing redundancy in college and high school programs to both enrich the student experience and lower education costs for families. Affordability is perhaps the greatest attribute that HCC has, and Mr. Glaser brings that aspect as a central part of his goals for the system. The 2013 pick for District 5 is Robert Glaser.

Though District 7 incumbent Trustee Neeta Sane has drawn one challenger in this race, she has proven her skills as an effective leader and visionary for the system. Like her rapidly growing and diverse district, Ms. Sane brings a wealth of diverse experience as a naturalized US citizen and small business owner. She has demonstrated how HCC can be more than an educational institution, but can really mold and shape a growing community. Ms. Sane has overseen over $140 million dollars of investment in her district, including the establishment of the Alief ISD Early College High School, the HCC Stafford Fine Arts Center, the ASPIRE scholarship program to promote educational opportunities in the Asian community, the Bissonnet workforce building and HCC Missouri City. She has a thorough understand of the growing needs in her district. For all of these reasons, the 2013 pick for District 7 is incumbent Neeta Sane.