Meet your ASI presidential candidate: Alex Dominguez

Questions by Esteban Ramirez/Editor-in-Chief

Tell us who you are. Include age, major, year in school and any other clubs or organizations you are on at CSUB.

My name is Alex Dominguez. I am 21 years old. I am a junior and majoring in political science. I am currently involved in the College Republicans Club on campus.

 

Alex Dominguez Photo by AJ Alvarado
Alex Dominguez
Photo by AJ Alvarado

Why are you running for this position?

During my time at CSU Bakersfield, I have paid close attention to the way ASI as a governmental organization operates. As former Student Government Association president of Bakersfield College, I was disgruntled with what I saw: a lack of transparency, a lack of accountability and a lack of effective leadership. I am running for ASI President to bring fiscal responsibility, strong legislative advocacy and an enhanced campus life to CSUB. Opposite of my opponent, I believe the student dollar belongs in programs that benefit them, not in scholarships that end up in my pocket. I will work to represent the students’ interest on campus and at every level of government. It is my goal to put the students first and bring ASI and CSUB into a new level of community engagement and participation.

 

What is the platform you are running on and what is your vision for the position?

ASI operates a budget well over a quarter of a million dollars funded by the students. The incumbent seeking re-election takes $7,200 of student dollars just for being President. ASI vice presidents take $6,600 of student dollars. In Executive Scholarships alone, nearly $35,000 of student dollars is taken and put in the pockets of a select few. During my time as President of Bakersfield College’s SGA, we implemented a minimum wage system where student government officers got paid minimum wage for their set amount of office hours. Anything exceeding the cap amount of office hours was considered volunteer work. If this system is implemented at CSUB, we can save the students $12,800.

However, it does not stop there. After going through the budget, our team was shocked to see just how wasteful the current ASI is with the students’ dollars. If elected, our team can and will reallocate funds from ASI operations toward student organizations and the creation of ASI sponsored student scholarships.

Something else we noticed when analyzing the budget is that the “Legislative/Advocacy” budget line item was wiped. This was clearly noted when the Golden Empire Transit Board discussed increasing bus fares several months ago. There was no ASI representation there to defend the students.

Legislative advocacy will be an integral part of our team’s agenda. I have worked for a Kern County supervisor, a state senator and a United States congressman. I have served on Boards and been involved with community development efforts across Kern County. I know the legislative process at all levels and its importance. Our team will stand up for the students’ interest from the smallest community development board to our Nation’s Capitol.

Through our first two points of reallocating student dollars and engaging the community, we will be able to promote a stronger and more enhanced campus life. By allocating funds back to the clubs, Greek life and other student organizations, they will have the ability and resources to host more events and participate in leadership opportunities. The clubs and other student organizations are the ones closest to the students. Therefore, we believe they should have one of the biggest budgets.

In order to pay for our new ideas and the upcoming ideas presented by the students, our team plans to implement the Kern Value Card on campus. This is an optional purchase made by the students and the proceeds will go directly back to ASI.

The card essentially serves two purposes. One, it gives students discounts at local businesses across Kern County. Two, it provides a new a source of revenue in order for us to pay for the plans going forward. That way, we do not pass the tab onto the students. Bakersfield College currently brings in approximately $90,000 from the Kern Value Card. However, they also have double the student population of CSUB. Given the first year of implementation and the size of our student population we can expect anywhere from $20,000 to $30,000 from the Kern Value Card.

 

There are various vacancies in director positions. What do you plan to do to recruit students for those positions? 

It is my opinion that ASI is to blame for the lack of involvement and interest in director positions. It is ASI’s responsibility to better market themselves in order to attract students to these posts. Our team plans to organize a strategic and effective public relations campaign in order to go after the students. This year, information regarding elections went out the day elections opened. This type of information should have been made public weeks in advance in order to build interest. The ASI president is currently meeting with classes and clubs in order to campaign for reelection. However, neither he nor any of his board members met with clubs or classes in order to spread word of the elections.

 

This year the MyWritingLab and the technology fees were increased without consulting the student body. How comfortable are you with arguing with administrators on behalf of students?

When our team heard of these increases we thought it was a convenient way of getting around the students. It seems that this year more and more fees have increased on the students of CSUB. MyWritingLab, technology, graduation and parking fees are all increasing on students in the coming year. ASI elected officials need to stand up and fight for the students they represent. It is not the responsibility of the ASI president to sell the decisions of the college administration but the responsibility of the ASI President to sell the students’ interest to the administration. This does not mean that we will win every fight. However, you can guarantee that we will always fight for the students’ interests.

 

How important is it to you to be transparent with all the students? 

Transparency and accountability are some of the most important aspects of any governmental organization. When I served as Student Government President of Bakersfield College, we followed the California State Brown Act to the tee. If an agenda was not made public to the student body 72 hours in advance as the law states, we would not have a meeting. Minutes will be made easily accessible to the students, The Runner and anyone else who desires records all in a timely manner.

In order to maintain accountability, we plan to have bi-weekly town hall forums in order to keep the students’ interests and concerns as our main priority. During these meetings we will have ASI representatives present with a legislative agenda and budget in order for the student population to be as informed as possible.

 

What do you want to do when you graduate?

 In 2009, a drunk driver hit my family head on causing detrimental damage to members of my family. The driver dealt several fatalities in his vehicle. He only got three years in prison. After graduating CSUB next year, I hope to attend law school in order to defend those who cannot defend themselves. To stand up for those members of my community who cannot stand-alone. I was born here in Bakersfield and spent several years of my life in Wasco, Calif. Kern County is my home and has made me who I am today. It is my goal to give back to my community in any way I can.

 

What television show do you enjoy watching and why?

Two of my favorite shows are House of Cards and Mad Men. I am a huge political junkie and love staying up to date with local, state and national news. House of Cards is a fun way to experience an exaggerated view on the behind-the-scenes politics of national government. I have recently declared Marketing as my minor. Mad Men is an exciting way of seeing the history and evolution of marketing and then apply it to class come Monday and Wednesday.

 

Why should we vote for you?

I have a record of success through my work as Student Government President at Bakersfield College and as the Student Trustee of the Kern Community College District where I represented three colleges and approximately 30,000 students. It is my goal to take the students’ dollar out of executive scholarships that go into the pockets of individuals and reallocate them back to student organizations and the creation of ASI Student Scholarships. I will advocate for the students on every level of government, from the GET Bus Board Room to our Nation’s Capitol. The students are my priority. CSUB is my priority. I guarantee each student I will represent them and their interest to the best of my ability each day in office.