Tuesday, March 24, 2009


When we look around at the mess that our country is in right now and examine how it got this way, one of the issues that keeps coming up is lack of citizen involvement. We all got into this mindset that running things was someone else’s job, to the point where many of us even stopped voting. If we have learned anything at all, I hope that we have learned that we all have an impact on everything around us. If we want things to run properly, we have to be informed, actively involved and willing to stand up for what we believe in.

That is why I was so happy when my friend Miguel Morales told me that he was running for a seat on the Board of Trustees at Johnson County Community College. This is obviously his call to service. You have to know some things about Miguel to understand why that is such a great fit.

Miguel has been a student and employee at JCCC for years. He has worked as a reporter and editor at the student newspaper, The Campus Ledger, [http://campusledger.jccc.edu/] and worked at the Billington Library as an aide. He has been involved with various campus groups and is liked and respected by students, faculty and staff. Miguel feels a great debt to the College for all that he has learned during his time there. I don’t know anyone that cares more about the College, its programs and policies, its reputation and future, its students, faculty, administration and staff.

The Board of Trustees oversees the management of the College. They set the budget and vote on policies that affect programs, faculty, students and staff. It is a non-salaried position, but is integral to the day-to-day operations, the classes and programs offered, student and faculty policy and everything that makes JCCC a quality institution.

Miguel has first-hand knowledge of this because he has been a student and employee and has covered the Board meetings closely as a reporter for the Ledger. He broke the story of retired President Charles Carlson’s alleged sexual harassment of a female employee. It was a tough story for Miguel to research and write because the College means so much to him and because he had to stick his neck out to write it. I know he anguished over it and checked and double-checked the facts before he ran it. It was an important story that would impact the College greatly, so it had to be told. And it took integrity and guts for Miguel to run that story in the Campus newspaper, but he did it because he believes in transparency and the people’s right to know.

Some will view his lack of a business background as a weakness, but Miguel has been involved with non-profit organizations and is intelligent and savvy. Having worked his way up from humble beginnings as a migrant worker, he knows how to live on a budget in a way that most of these other candidates haven’t known in a long time (some maybe never). Besides, as a country, haven’t we put to rest this notion that we should be running everything as if it were a business? Governments and schools aren’t businesses; they are institutions that serve the public interest and meet community needs.

Miguel understands the necessity to run the College in a fiscally responsible and financially efficient way in order to keep the focus on quality education. You don’t have to have a business background to understand how to stick to a budget and plan for the future. And if you spent even five minutes talking to Miguel about the challenges that the College is facing in this economic downturn, you would realize that he is the candidate with the most knowledge on these issues.

As a student, employee and concerned citizen, Miguel would bring a unique perspective to the Board that no other candidate can match. He understands better than any of them the direct impact that the Board’s decisions have on students, faculty and staff at the College. And Miguel would bring much needed diversity to a Board of Trustees that has never included a minority member in its 40 year history. The student body and community that the College serves is increasingly ethnically diverse and it is important for the Board of Trustees at the College to reflect that diversity.

Check out this video on YouTube:

This country needs people who care about their communities and institutions to get involved. As many of us learned in typing class, “Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country.” Miguel Morales wants to serve the College that means so much to him. He is knowledgeable, intelligent, dedicated, passionate, practical and highly qualified. He is a man of the people and has no agenda other than to maintain and improve the quality of education and programs at JCCC.

Please vote for Miguel Morales for Johnson County Community College Board of Trustees on April 7th.

And if you don't live in Johnson County, Kansas, please donate any amount you can to Miguel's campaign. He is running against well-connected business men and politicians and he needs all the help that he can get. http://trustmiguel.wordpress.com/ (There is a donation button at the bottom of the page-secure and easy!)

Check out Miguel's blog: http://latinoreporter.blogspot.com/

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