The UTSA College Republicans hosted their first forum in two years, which included 32 Republican political candidates currently running for office. Each candidate gave a two-minute overview of their qualifications and platform, and answered questions that were written by the College Republicans group. The candidates ranged from tax assessors to sheriffs to candidates running for a seat in the House Representatives.
On April 18, College Republicans Chairman, Ian “Rooster” Jacobson, opened the forum with a brief speech about several stereotypes he believes are applied to the Republican Party.
“We’re greedy, we’re fascist, we’re racist; that’s what I’ve learned about myself after years of being a Republican,” Jacobson said.
His speech provoked laughter and applause from audience members as they settled into their seats and prepared for the candidates to take the stage.
JP Bosco III, College Republican treasurer, was responsible for introducing the candidates to the audience and posing the questions. The candidates had 30 seconds to answer before the sounding of a bell indicating that their time was up. The candidates were organized into groups according to their respective offices and were brought on stage accordingly.
Several UTSA alumni were among the candidates, including Alma Perez-Jackson, who is running for Texas State Representative for District 125.
Jackson grew up on the south side of San Antonio in a family of eight children. After 10 years of taking two classes a semester, summer school and night classes, she graduated from UTSA with a Bachelor’s degree in business administration in 2005.
“There are eight children in my family, and five of us now have college degrees,” Jackson said, “We didn’t accomplish all that we have with the help of affirmative action, we did it on our own.”
Jackson, raised in a household with what she describes as “tight finances,” claims she never could have imagined being back at her alma mater giving a speech as a political candidate.
Other UTSA alumni in attendance as candidates were Robert Behrens, Juanita Vasquez Gardener and John Clamp.
College Republicans’ Vice Chairman Austin Hagee closed the forum with a brief speech thanking the candidates and audience members for attending.
Following the formal proceedings of the forum, many candidates chose to stay and answer any questions by the audience members.
Jacobson, who was the main organizer of the event, said he felt “very relieved” at the close of the forum.
“I was incredibly stressed coming into this and was really nervous about how well attended it would be, but I feel like the event went well,” Jacobson said.
UTSA freshman Matt Lesicko was one of the Roadrunners in attendance at the forum.
“I would like to see more events like the Republican forum; it’s interesting to see such a wide range of political candidates come to UTSA and reach out to college students and young voters,” Lesicko said.
Jacobson and the College Republicans urged students to vote and take an active role in politics, no matter what party affiliation students may have.