UTSA students and San Antonio residents gathered at the Candidate Forum, located at the UTSA Downtown Campus, to learn about Bexar County’s public candidates.
League of Women Voters (LWV) in partnership with the UTSA College of Public Policy. Candidates running for Bexar County sheriff, as well as candidates running for civil and criminal courts, were invited to their positions on issues facing San Antonio.
“Students should attend events like these to become informed about certain candidates that will shape policies and enact certain programs that will affect us,” said Alejandra Cortes, president of UTSA Alpha Phi Sigma Criminal Justice Honor Society. “Javier Salazar for sheriff stood out to me because of his long-time commitment to law enforcement and his diligence to his work.”
Current Bexar County Sheriff Susan Pamerleau, as well as Libertarian candidate Larry Ricketts and Green Party candidate James Dorsey, joined Salazar in the discussion.
Laura Parker, Jason Pulliam, Irene Rios, Linda Molina, John Longoria, Libby Wiedermann, Catherine Torres-Stahl, David Kaliski, Norma Gonzales, Leslie Sachanowicz, Angélica Jiménez and Jan Ischy-Prins are the candidates for Bexar County civil and criminal courts.
“We must be civically engaged so we can elect candidates that will serve our interests and will shape our community the way we envision it,” Cortes said.
Many at the forum echoed the importance of civic engagement. Dr. Francine Sanders Romero, UTSA Associate Dean of Public Policy, noted her pride in UTSA’s new civic engagement minor.
“When I think of civic engagement,” Romero recounted, “I think of Phyllis Ingram calling me every year and saying we need to do a judicial forum.”
The LWV Voting Services Director, Phyllis Ingram, moderated the Candidate Forum, which was conducted under a debate model. The candidates were organized by the seats for which they were running and among their opposition.
The candidates agreed not to direct questions and remarks to one another as the moderator delivered questions to them. Attendees of the forum were invited to participate by writing questions on note cards, which student assistants collected.
“The (LWV) and UTSA have worked together over several years to put on candidate forums,” Ingram commented. “They’re a great resource for us and just great partners on candidate forums.”
Brianda Lopez, senior UTSA criminal justice major, volunteered at the event.
“I’m here to help get more students involved,” Lopez said, “and help the community understand what’s happening in their community as well.”
Angélica Jiménez, a candidate for Bexar County 408th District judge, stressed the personal impact of voters’ decisions.
“You are voting on the public servants that touch our lives most frequently,” Jiménez said, “For example, the seat that I’m running for touches hundreds of different families a year, so it’s important for people to vote.”
The 2016 general election is less than one month away. Students have until election day-Tuesday, Nov. 8 to get informed and to get involved.