Catherine Miranda was the top choice for a panel of Maricopa County Community College representatives narrowing down potential appointees for a vacant seat for the College's governing board.
Miranda, a state representative who is now running for a seat in the Senate, was married to Ben Miranda, who served on the governing board before he passed away in November.
The College team also forwarded to the Maricopa County School Superintendent the names of longtime lawmaker and activist Alfredo Gutierrez and Carlos Galindo Elvira, the chief development officer at Valle de Sol, as alternatives.
The decision, which now rests with Superintendent Don Covey and a team he's assembled, is expected by January 20.
"For me, it's about authentic public service and wanting to help higher education and a diverse student population," Galindo-Elvira tells New Times. "But I'm not unaware that it's also a political process."
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Alfredo Gutierrez says he was honored to be selected as a finalist.
"The community colleges are on the cutting edge in terms of education for our community," he says, adding that more than half of university students started at a community college. "They are the most important gateway to a higher education."
Miranda, occupied with legislative duties, couldn't be reached for comment.