Monday’s Democratic Party of Orange County special meeting is all about endorsements for key races this November.
For some, a surprise name popped up for Rancho Santiago Community College Board – Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez. Now, some ask why would a former Congresswomen seek a low profile office? Sanchez withdrew from a rematch with Don Wagner for County Board of Supervisors last year for personal reasons, so why run for a seat on a community college board?
- The board needs the sort of experience and leadership Sanchez can provide for students and faculty to improve graduation rates and get the colleges back to two year cycles instead of four or five years. Graduation rates aren’t great at all.
- Sanchez’s record on issues of education in Congress is exceptional. She’s a reliable vote for teachers and students. Her familiarity with the Department of Education in Washington and Sacramento will be invaluable to the Rancho Board.
- Since 1996, Sanchez’s endorsement was the most sought after in OC for anyone running for office with a “D” associated with their candidacy. The party is where it is today because of the foundation she’s quietly built over two decades. The loyalty she’s shown to the party frankly calls for the party to show her loyalty back.
There’s speculation that someone will pull her name over an endorsement issue in the Santa Ana City Council race. Woe to the Central Committee member who does; as it would demonstrate a complete lack of the institutional knowledge of what Sanchez has meant to the party and done for the party since beating B-1 Bob Dornan twice and sending Republican Van Tran into political retirement in 2010.
To get an endorsement from Sanchez, a candidate needs to reach out to her first. It’s not automatic, nor should it be. But that’s where it starts. And longtime friends who have always supported Sanchez will have an edge.
For those who need it, here’s her updated bio and record on education legislation:
Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez represented Orange County California for 20 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, from 1997 to 2017.
As a senior veteran of the House Armed Services Committee, Loretta is a recognized leader on military and national security issues. On the Homeland Security Committee, Loretta served as Chairwoman on the Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security and advocated policies that balance security, international trade and business concerns and on protecting America’s government and private sector information and communications infrastructure.
Loretta also represented the United States in the NATO Parliament and has an international reputation as a tough and reliable expert on issues of security cooperation, nuclear nonproliferation and counter-terrorism policy. She was recognized as “one of the 25 most powerful women in Congress” by Congressional Quarterly, the leading journal of legislative affairs in 2016.
In her current consulting work at a Law Firm, Loretta draws on her vast experience as a financial planner and adviser at Booz, Allen and Hamilton, the Orange County Transportation Authority, and her own financial consulting firm. Loretta was a Harvard Advanced Leadership Fellow in 2018 and has just been named a GSPM Fellow at George Washington University, where she will be mentoring students who want to enter politics. Ms. Sanchez has vast experience in this as she has mentored aspiring politicians for decades.
Loretta is a graduate of Chapman University and American University’s MBA program, which included a year of study at the European Community’s Common Market Management School in Rome. She is Past President of the National Society of Hispanic MBAs and a member of the Rotary Club of Anaheim. Rep. Sanchez has received numerous awards throughout the years for her leadership including Legislator of the Year awards from The Sierra Club, The National Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, National Women’s Political Caucus, AFL/CIO, MALDEF, NAACP, and many others. She is fluent in Spanish and Italian.
She remains active in the Democratic Party and Democratic candidates on strategy, fundraising and campaign planning.
In Congress, Sanchez:
- Voted for $40 billion in funding for “green” public schools with grants to states to modernize public schools for safety, student health, and up to date technology.
- Voted for $10.28 billion in federal education/health and human services projects to address a presidential veto by George W. Bush.
- Voted and increased by $84 million grants for Black and Hispanic Colleges
- Voted against Vouchers for DC Private schools
Sanchez adopted the manifesto in 2010, “A New Agenda for the New Decade”:
Create World-Class Public Schools
Now more than ever, quality public education is the key to equal opportunity and upward mobility in America. Yet our neediest children often attend the worst schools. While lifting the performance of all schools, we must place special emphasis on strengthening those institutions serving, and too often failing, low-income students.
To close this achievement and opportunity gap, underperforming public schools need more resources, and above all, real accountability for results. Accountability means ending social promotion, measuring student performance with standards-based assessments, and testing teachers for subject-matter competency.
As we demand accountability, we should ensure that every school has the resources needed to achieve higher standards, including safe and modern physical facilities, well-paid teachers and staff, and opportunities for remedial help after school and during summers. Parents, too, must accept greater responsibility for supporting their children’s education.
We need greater choice, competition, and accountability within the public school system, not a diversion of public funds to private schools that are unaccountable to taxpayers. With research increasingly showing the critical nature of learning in the early years, we should move toward universal access to pre-kindergarten education.
- Turn around every failing public school.
- Offer every parent a choice of public schools to which to send his or her child.
- Make sure every classroom has well-qualified teachers who know the subjects they teach, and pay teachers more for performance.
- Create a safe, clean, healthy, disciplined learning environment for every student.
- Make pre-kindergarten education universally available.
Sanchez scores 100% by the NEA on public education issues
The National Education Association has a long, proud history as the nation’s leading organization committed to advancing the cause of public education. Founded in 1857 “to elevate the character and advance the interests of the profession of teaching and to promote the cause of popular education in the United States,” the NEA has remained constant in its commitment to its original mission as evidenced by the current mission statement:
To fulfill the promise of a democratic society, the National Education Association shall promote the cause of quality public education and advance the profession of education; expand the rights and further the interest of educational employees; and advocate human, civil, and economic rights for all.
In pursuing its mission, the NEA has determined that it will focus the energy and resources of its 2.7 million members toward the “promotion of public confidence in public education.” The ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization’s preferred position.
Sanchez voted to make two years of community college free.
Excerpts from press release from Tammy Baldwin, Senate sponsor: The America’s College Promise Act makes two years of community college free by:
- Providing a federal match of $3 for every $1 invested by the state to waive community college tuition and fees for eligible students;
- Ensuring that programs offer academic credits which are fully transferable to four-year institutions in their state;
- Establishing a new grant program to provide pathways to success at minority-serving institutions by helping them cover a significant portion of tuition and fees for the first two years of attendance for low-income students.
Community, technical, and tribal colleges enroll 40% of all college students today. Community colleges are uniquely positioned to partner with employers to create tailored training programs to meet economic needs within their communities such as nursing and advanced manufacturing.
Loretta Sanchez deserves the party’s endorsement and support. The party owes her a debt that’s hard to repay. The beneficiary will be the students and parents of the Rancho Santiago Community College District.