NEWS: Community College Dream Team Wants Your Vote On Election Day

Samantha Jill UyBico, Staff Writer

Three San Jose politicians campaigning for election on Nov. 4 made it clear that they consider community colleges a huge priority during a political conference at De Anza College on Oct. 16.

The trio of politicians, who call themselves the Community College Dream Team is made up of San Jose mayoral candidate David Cortese, San Jose City Council candidate Paul Fong and California State Assembly candidate Evan Low, Democrats.

An absent Dave Cortese was represented by his wife Pattie Cortese, who addressed several of her husband’s contributions to the city such as hiring buses with private funding to transport San Jose students, parents and teachers to the state capital to lobby legislators to keep educational costs down.

Low is a candidate for Assembly District 28, which Fong currently holds. They support each other because they share the same vision for community college programs and funding .

“I recognize that in 1960, college tuition was free,” Low said. “In 1970, it went up to $700. Fast forward to 2012 and it’s $15,000.”

“Community college allows you to create a future for yourself,” Cortese said. “There is no academic requirement for entry and it represents the possibility present in anyone’s lives.”

Fong provided an anecdote about growing up in San Jose and understanding the diversity, and said that he humorously considered community college students his “homies” that he wanted to “hook up.” He is De Anza College alum.

Low also attended De Anza and now teaches American Government here.

Between answering formally posed questions, the dream team sat back and watched student videos and made time for a couple questions from the audience. Marijuana decriminalization was brought up by Kevin Suarez, DASB senate vice president.

“Dave doesn’t support the decriminalization of drugs, but the decriminalization of drug users,” Cortese said.

Fong said he believes in legalizing marijuana and collecting taxes on it.

“Look at Colorado and Washington; it’s working,” Fong said. “I believe in two years it will be legalized.”

The questions kept coming, but the time limit on the conference expired, so interviews were kept brief. Pamphlets with further information were provided to everyone in attendance, in an attempt to encourage students to get out and vote.

The Community College Dream Team said they want De Anza students to know that, if elected, the students will definitely be on their minds when making decisions.

On Nov. 4, the dream team’s names will be appearing on the voting ballots throughout the county.