The Candidates

Place 7

Barbara Mink (incumbent, unopposed) serves as dean in the Fielding Graduate University, which offers distance-learning graduate programs; she was first elected in 2000. The current board chair, she is also on the board of Envision Central Texas and president of her neighborhood association. Her priorities are educating voters about the advantages for communities that join the ACC taxing district and ensuring that ACC facilities keep up with student demand.

Place 8

Rodney Ahart: A lobbyist for the American Cancer Society, he lost an ACC race in 2004, then helped pass the city smoking ordinance and more recently prepare the city bond package. Ahart wants to use the experience gained as an aide to State Rep. Dawnna Dukes to lobby the legislature to increase appropriations for higher education. He also wants to increase outreach to and success of first-generation college students.

James McGuffee: An associate professor of computer science at St. Edwards University, McGuffee has been both a teacher and administrator at ACC and served on the citizen's committee that helped ACC plan its South Austin Campus. His top priorities are bringing more students into ACC and keeping tuition low. He previously ran unsuccessfully for the ACC board in 2002.

Place 9

Allen Kaplan (incumbent): A public-relations consultant, and a trustee since 1994, he was cited in a report by ACC's accrediting agency complaining that trustees were overstepping their legal responsibilities at a time when relations between the board and former ACC president Richard Fonté were in meltdown; however, the board reviewed policy as a condition for earning re-accreditation. Kaplan emphasizes the need to pay faculty and staff well – he has been a strong advocate of a living wage – but also wants to avoid "tuition creep," so he also emphasizes annexation as a way toward both goals.

Ana Mejia-Dietche is an attorney who directs a health professions program for the Skillpoint Alliance, a nonprofit that encourages collaboration between businesses and public education. She's been a grant writer and adjunct faculty at ACC and has served on a number of volunteer boards from the Women's Advocacy Project to Austin Free-Net. Because of her work with older students who have changed their lives through education, she is particularly interested in reaching out to nontraditional students, and like everyone else, she's gung-ho on annexation.

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    Five candidates battle for three open spots on the Austin Community College Board of Trustees

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