A little over 8 years ago, I was a candidate for a seat on the Alamo College Board of Trustees myself. As you may correctly guess, I lost. I got just over 20% of the vote, but in truth only a few hundred votes separated me from my opponent, the incumbent. A couple of observations worth noting when I ran, I wasn't ready to run for that office, much less run a campaign on my own. I raised and spent a little over a $1,000 to my opponent who conservatively had to of spent at least 10 times as much through robocalls and slick mail outs. Yes, he won, but in a way so did I.
I found it fascinating that he pulled out all the stops to defeat me in an important, but otherwise low key election. It was also interesting to me that I was mentioned positively in the San Antonio Express-New's endorsement of my opponent. To this date I've never seen the Express-News do that, much less mention an opponent in any context in an endorsement of another candidate.
In hindsight, my opponent, Charlie Conner, was the right candidate for a number of reasons and I was disappointed when he resigned and moved on from serving on the board. Perhaps ironically, some of his reasons for resigning were part of the very reason I was running in the first place, a lack of communication between the board and college administration, faculty, students, and community.
To be honest, I don't see myself as a candidate for office anytime soon. I still have my obligations to serve on the Community Action Advisory Board with the City of San Antonio and I more strongly feel I can have a more meaningful and positive impact my writing my own thoughts and observations on community and political issues of the day.
With this in mind, I'd like to share an article from the Ranger, which is San Antonio College's student run newspaper about me when I was running for office. I wanted to share a link but it appears that it's no longer archived on the Ranger's website.
Also, tomorrow, which is Saturday 21 June, there will be run-off elections in two Alamo College Board of Trustee races in Districts 4 and 8. Here is a link to the Bexar County Elections site for more information on the election and where to vote, the ballot, etc. As the day progresses I'll post more on the two run-offs, the candidates, issues, and even a little on my own candidacy all those years ago.
Board candidate in political office since age 24
By: Amber Whittaker
If 30-year-old Le Lowry is elected to the district board, his age won't be the only characteristic to distinguish him from other trustees. Lowry is opposing incumbent Charles Conner, board chairman and District 7 representative.
Lowry is a Buddhist and a self-described "Army brat" who was raised in South Korea and Okinawa. He now lives with his family on the North Side. The teaching assistant at North East Transition School has struggled with Tourette's syndrome and bouts of depression stemming from the disorder.
"When you make funny noises, people pick on you. I spent a lot of time on my own," Lowry said, referring to adolescence before he was diagnosed with Tourette's.
The disorder, which manifests itself as quick, sporadic grunts instead of the commonly recognized erratic string of words or profanity, was ignored as a quirk until he was 19.
But it is no longer an obstacle for him. "It's been a source of strength for me," Lowry said.
He said because of the depression, he may never know consistent happiness, "But I'm going to be damned if I'm going to let someone have a miserable life if they don't have to."
That political conviction was strengthened in 1999 when Lowry campaigned in Minnesota for the implementation of a fusion ballot, which would allow candidates to run as a member of multiple parties on the same ballot. Lowry has since abandoned the cause. But not his civic duty. "We have to do more than vote," he said about young people.
In 2000, Lowry was elected as an alternate to the Community Action Advisory Board as a representative for the poor, as well as a Democratic precinct chair. In January he became a regular member of the Advisory board, which provides oversight for social programs in the city.
Lowry's political views were influenced by his Army background, where he said his family was part of a community very different from civilian life.
In 1999 before he ran for office, his mother took him to her family home in Vietnam.
"You know that song 'I left my heart in San Francisco'? Well, I left my heart in Saigon," Lowry said.
While Vietnam is communist, Ho Chi Minh City, the former Saigon, did not remind Lowry of what he imagined communism to look like. "The city was bustling with life. You don't see serious and sad people. They are very industrious, very community-minded. Neighbors get involved with each other," Lowry said.
Lowry has attended college here, as well as the University of Texas at San Antonio and St. Mary's University. He said he wants the colleges of this district to be a place for the city to gather and for culture to spread to other areas. Lowry is planning informal meet and greets at several coffee shops in town, but he will be running a mostly Internet-based campaign. His Web site is www.lelowry.com.
While Lowry said he doesn't earn enough money on his modest teacher's assistant salary to spare for an ambitious campaign, he's not deterred.
"If you can take care of yourself, you have to help other people."
© Copyright 2007 The Ranger