My speech to the local NAACP

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a candidate for the board of trustees at a local community college. This is the group that acts as the school board for the college. It approves all the major budget issues and the policy decisions of the college. The board has a 6 year staggered term and there are currently 3 seats coming up for the next election with 5 people running for them. 2 of the people running are incumbents.

I’ve been asked to attend a meet the candidates forum sponsored by the N.A.A.C.P. and the Peoria Christian Leadership Council. I’ll have 3 minutes for an introduction, then will answer questions from the floor.

Here is a draft of the speech I intend to give for my opening remarks.

Hello and thank you for inviting me.

My name is Brian Hibbert and I live in East Peoria. I’m running for the Board of Trustees of Illinois Central College because ICC is important to me and to my family. I was a student there starting in 1979 when I enrolled in the Industrial Electronics Technology program after graduating from Brimfield High School. I have also participated in Adult Continuing Education over the years and I am currently finishing an Associates in Computer Programming and Database Management. I have a daughter who is a graduate of ICC, a son who is also currently a student and another son who has taken some of his college classes there. I’m also a tax payer in the district and a nearby neighbor of the main campus.

While this is a nonpartisan election, I think it’s important that you know what my beliefs and those of the other candidates are before you make your election decisions. I’m a Republican and a conservative. This means that I believe in a small and efficient government that meets the needs of the people, not an overwhelming bureaucracy that tells free people what they must or can’t do. This means I have the confidence in the ability of people to make wise decisions in their own lives. This means that I believe in teaching people how to become self sufficient rather than relying on the whims of the government to provide for what they think people need. This mean that I believe in treating people as individuals based on their character and not lumping people into groups based on their race or religion or some other arbitrary grouping.

I believe ICC is a tool for helping to develop the character of individuals. It is a tool that will allow people to improve their own lives. It is a tool that will allow people to get a high quality education at a very low cost.

And low cost is one of the things that make ICC such a valuable resource to this area. No where else can you get an associates degree for about $6000 tuition. Most colleges charge that much or more for a single semester. I want to keep that cost low. It’s the low cost that allows so many people from our area to improve their lives.

ICC has several core missions that are closely related. It’s most obvious mission is to provide the first 2 years of post secondary education, its Associates Degree programs. But it also has some other tasks. It provides General Education Degree programs for those who (for whatever reason) didn’t finish high school. It provides vocational education programs for those who aren’t interested in advanced degrees, but need training in a career field where they can find good employment. And it provides adult continuing education programs for people who need to keep current in their field, learn a little about another field, or who just want to expand their horizons.

My goal on the board is to be able to ask 2 questions for each and every expenditure of the college. Does this expenditure help us meet our core goals? And is there a better way to meet those same goals? I believe that by keeping the college focused on its primary tasks, we can keep the cost of a college education low and help make it available to more people who otherwise would never be able to attend college.

I appreciate whatever input you may have.