ACC: Four for the Board

The Austin Community College board of trustees election will show four seats on the municipal ballot, but only Place 1 actually features a contest: between attorney Tim Mahoney, legislative research analyst Harrison Keller, and student Michael "Mike" Reid. In Place 2, John-Michael Cortez, a community-outreach specialist for Capital Metro, is the lone candidate to succeed outgoing board Chair John Hernandez; in Place 3, incumbent Vice Chair Nan McRaven is unchallenged; and in the special election for Place 5, to fill the unexpired term of the departing Rafael Quintanilla (who has moved from the college district), former Austin City Council Member Raul Alvarez has no opponent. (All nine board positions are at-large, six-year terms, and every two years, three positions are open for election.)

Place 1

Tim Mahoney: Attorney Mahoney, 55, has a résumé of community activism and an equally long list of supporters on his website (www.timmahoney4acc.com) that reads like a who's who of Austin political circles, with names like former Travis Co. Judge Bill Aleshire, former City Council Member Jackie Goodman, and former Mayor Gus Garcia, just to skim the surface. Mahoney says he's had a longtime interest in community education and even campaigned for the first taxing district created to wean ACC away from the Austin Independent School District. "ACC is critically poised to really be the central educational factor to help us adapt our local markets to the coming uncertainty," he says. "We have to rethink what the economy is going to be looking like." Mahoney says ACC's challenges include getting fair compensation for staff and building new facilities.

Harrison Keller: Keller, 37, is director of research for the Texas House of Represent­a­tives and a U.S. Navy reservist, with a Ph.D. in research and policy development from Georgetown University (www.harrisonkeller.com). "My whole career has been in higher education," says the former project director for education policy at UT-Austin's Charles A. Dana Center. He has also taught at Georgetown, St. Edward's, and UT. "I work with House members of both parties on policy development, and 95 percent of my work has been on education. I believe that if we provide the best possible info, we get better policy decisions."

Michael "Mike" Reid: ACC student Reid, 34, is currently the parliamentarian for ACC's student government. He says he's running because "the board needs a student representative to speak on a lot of issues." Being a parliamentarian has helped prepare him for the board, he says, because in that role, "I have to ensure that everyone who wants to speak gets heard." ACC's biggest challenges, he says, are student needs and services and properly weighing classroom needs into the budget. "I hear teachers talk about wasteful spending at ACC all the time but then see other teachers who can't get chalk." Reid also wants to promote environmental conservation and move the school away from traditional textbooks to digital ones.

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