By Sergio Medina
District 4 candidate Dr. Joe Gallegos, 68, believes all opportunities that ease access to higher education should be explored and expanded for anyone who wishes that path.
“Particularly people of color,” he said in an interview Oct. 6.
“I’m a strong proponent of education,” he said. “I’m a strong proponent of (a) free educational system at a junior college level.
“I am very supportive of Alamo Promise. I think that it needs to be expanded.”
Alamo Promise is a tuition coverage program for graduating seniors in select Bexar County high schools.
This will ensure more and more young people have access to higher education, he continued.
“There’s many people in our community, especially people of color, that are a product of their environment and their community, and unfortunately because of the effects of poverty and social ills or social problems, they don’t realize their full potential,” Gallegos said.
He said he is opposed to any increase to the Alamo Colleges tax rate.
“I will be opposing any new taxes in the district,” he said.
He described himself as a fiscal conservative.
“I feel that we need to maximize payment for faculty and staff.”
He said he would look at the district’s budget and look for areas to streamline.
Gallegos said also that there must be an exploration of new teaching areas involving technology and cybersecurity.
“It’s no longer the traditional type of instruction that needs to be offered,” he said. “I think, again, that we have to look at new ways of not only teaching, but new ways of learning as well.”
Gallegos said he believes the vacancy of District 4, the seat previously held by Marcelo Casillas, is a “tremendous” opportunity to bring in fresh ideas and policies that affect the district and the county.
Growing up on the West Side, he referred to himself as a former “pachuco,” or gang member, in the late ’60s. He said the education he received helped him walk a different path of life, and his parents were a source of inspiration in his desire for education. Today, his journey and parents act as motivation for his candidacy for District 4.
“Education was the vehicle that got me out of that environment,” he said.
He attended Colegio Jacinto Treviño, Mercedes. He obtained a master’s degree in social work and two bachelor’s degrees in sociology and social work from Our Lady of the Lake University. He graduated from Fox Tech High School in 1974.
Though retired, his work experience includes administrator for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, and juvenile and adult probation officer for Bexar County.
He is involved at St. Timothy’s Catholic Church in rehabilitation and second chance programs for individuals involved with the criminal system or in substance abuse.
Early voting ends Oct. 30. The election is Nov. 3.
Northwest Vista College, Palo Alto College and this college are early voting locations.
More information is available at www.bexar.org/1568/Elections-Department.