Community Economic Development and Property Tax Relief
I will introduce policy that empowers local, small, women, veteran, and minority owned business to receive contracts in order to create better paying jobs, while ensuring that homeowners' property taxes don't continue rising through passing grandfather clause.
Breaking the School to Jail Pipeline
As County Commissioner, I will have influence on correctional facilities. We need to ensure that these facilities are equipped to empower inmates to make better decisions and to have the tools they need to know that they can choose to be contributing members of society and need not add to the recidivism rate. However, we need to seriously look at why they are entering the system in the first place. As American society continues to spend more and more money on locking people up, we need look at the lack of funding for our neighborhood schools, including school social workers, arts and music programs, and other extracurricular activities. We know that students who are more engaged in extracurriculars at their school, are also more likely to have better relationships with the adults in their lives, have higher self esteem, and of course receive more scholarships for college. Sadly there is a school-to-prison pipeline in many of our neighborhoods. This means that students are often suspended due to a lack of time, energy, effort or funding to have social service programs or school social workers to be able to engage with them to improve their behavior by understanding what the root causes are. Statistics show that students of color and students who live in poverty are more likely to be affected by these policies. What does one think a student is doing during suspension? Repeated suspensions often impact students to make the decision to drop out.
Jails are the largest provider of mental health services in the state. We need to promote counseling centers and partner with social service agencies to ensure that our schools have social workers and resources that help our young people succeed academically and stay on the right track. In turn, this creates a more educated stable workforce and a safer, more vibrant community.
Public Safety and Health
Investing in infrastructure for children and seniors to have places to be physically active that are well lit, accessible to public transportation, and without stray dogs. Address issues with non-maintained county roads for emergency responders' access. Entice businesses that are socially and environmentally responsible which directly affect mental/public health and safety.
Improving Our Community's Mental Health
Mental health has been dismissed and overlooked for too long in our communities. It’s often something that people are embarrassed to talk about, or don’t know how to discuss. Mental health is a sickness like other illnesses that need medical attention, support, and understanding. I organized a mental health panel through the Mayor’s Fitness Council, and have served on the Bexar County’s steering committee for its annual mental health conference through the Center for Health Care Services for the last three years. As your future Commissioner, I am committed to ensuring that we provide mental health support for our most vulnerable citizens, including working to ensure that our schools have the resources they need to support our students. I will continue to fight against the stereo types and work against the stigma.
Investing in the Next Generation through Education
At a very young age I realized I was poor, female, Black and Mexican, and didn’t have anything going for me (according to societal norms). However, my mother helped me to understand that I had two free things in this country that no one could ever take away - freedom of religion and the privilege of a free education. My inner-city neighborhood schools afforded me educational opportunities that I have cherished to this day. My love for the symphony and stringed instruments started when I was ten and was selected to take violin lessons at my elementary school’s pull-out program since my teacher knew that I could miss classroom instruction and would still be able to catch up.
Years later as a junior at Brack, I received a scholarship to attend a summer program at Oxford University in England. My mother couldn’t afford my plane ticket, so SAISD’s central office purchased it. School is so much more than academic subjects and homework, but it affords children like myself opportunities to have experiences which would otherwise be closed to them. Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations said, “Education is the great equalizer of our time. It gives hope to the hopeless and creates chances for those without.” Hope is what enables our students to know that they can achieve their dreams through educational access, despite their circumstances. As your County Commissioner, I plan to collaborate with our educational institutions to ensure that our students have opportunities through partnerships, internships, and scholarships in order to empower them through educational success. I want our students, whether they choose to further their education here in SA or leave for college, to choose to come back to live on the Southside of San Antonio to build up our community and to use their experiences in turn to empower others. This is why I came back to SA, and this is why I choose to run for County Commissioner.
Maintaining the Promise to Our Veterans
Growing up in Military City, USA, I developed a fond respect for Service men and woman because I always saw them walking around downtown in uniform or visiting at church. I developed a deeper understanding for the choices that they made to serve and to risk their lives when my older brother, Isaias, joined the Army. He barely graduated from Brack, worked several jobs in kitchen restaurants, made some poor personal decisions, but then he decided to join the Army. I was so happy for him, yet deathly scared each time he was deployed to Iraq or Kuwait. Isaias retired from the Army last year, and I couldn’t be more proud (and relieved that he won’t be deployed again ). Over the years, I’ve developed yet another level of feeling for veterans - that of anger and disappointment. Not in our veterans, but in our government and society who have not always ensured that veterans have the tools and benefits that they need after leaving the Service. Many return to live in San Antonio, because they were stationed here at some point and liked it, or realize there are many local discounts since we have so many bases, or simply because they didn’t have anywhere else to go. How can we as a society allow individuals who protect our country to then become homeless or suffer PTSD and other mental health issues because of the tragedies of war that they have experienced? We must ensure that our veterans continue to receive great benefits, but also increase our support in terms of mental health access, affordable housing, and job placement once they leave service, whether after two years or 20 years. Texas in general, and San Antonio specifically, must continue to lead the nation in support of our veterans through such legislation as the Hazlewood Act for continual funding for free state tuition for our veterans and their dependents.