Greetings residents of the Copper Corridor.
Come Nov. 6, you will make some important choices and I’d like to illustrate the differences between two candidates running for the Central Arizona College governing board.
I am writing as a resident of Pinal County, a former student of Central Arizona College and a supporter of education in our rural community. I first started my education at the Aravaipa campus and then transferred to Signal Peak where I completed my bachelors of nursing through the NAU program, while never having to leave the county. I had access to all the resources I needed for my degree, face to face instruction, tutors, academic advisors, and financial aid support. In addition, there are numerous leadership opportunities in clubs and organizations that created for me, a fulfilling collegiate experience for the three years I was a full-time student at Aravaipa.
I want to urge you to vote for Ms. Gladys Christensen on Tuesday because I believe she cares about our access to higher education in Pinal County and thinks about students when making her decisions. As a longtime resident of the Copper Corridor, I know that many people in our community rely on the educational courses at CAC Aravaipa to get certificates for better jobs and transfer to a university. Without these programs, local students would have to travel great distances for quality in person instruction.
I have seen first hand that some people in Pinal County do not seem to think that having a campus in our area is important. Ken Robinson, who is running against Gladys, and a group he belongs to have been longtime critics of CAC. They have been critical of a multitude of things most importantly the existence of the Aravaipa campus. This group has been quoted as saying things like, “I have sent my kids to college and I do not think my tax dollars should be used for education anymore.”
Students who have access to education tend to stay in their communities, then in turn pay taxes in this area instead of moving away to develop roots in new communities far from Pinal County. I am happy to give back to an institution that has given me and my community so much.
I think residents need to ask the important question – why would someone want to serve on a board of a college that they dislike? The answer is they could vote for closing a campus (Aravaipa campus) or against anything that would mean their taxes would be utilized for education.
Gladys Christensen was a target of these critics; she weathered the storm and has stood by what she believed in. She believes in CAC and I am proud to give her my vote and I hope you do too.
A lot is at stake, please vote for Gladys Christensen on Nov. 6 and help ensure that all of us in Pinal County have access to a quality education.
/s/ Edward Aguirre