November 9, 2004
The newest member of the governing board of the nation’s largest community college district wants to use the position to advance conservative values.
Jerry Walker was elected to the Maricopa Community College District board Nov. 2. He will replace Nancy Stein on Jan. 11. Stein is retiring from the board after 12 years.
"It was important to get a conservative voice on that board — someone who will speak to conservative values," Walker said. He defined conservative values as personal responsibility and noninterference from government in people’s lives.
Seats on the governing board are nonpartisan to reduce political party influence on decision making.
Board members Linda Rosenthal and Scott Crowley declined comment about Walker’s statements because they said they wanted to meet him first. The board’s other two members couldn’t be reached.
Walker said he can work with the rest of the board despite their liberal views.
"My motto is I’m conservative but I’ll work with them," he said.
Walker, who has never held public office, said he wants to eliminate the district’s primary funding source of property tax and change state law so community colleges can award four-year degrees.
Walker’s background is in theology and public health service. The Mesa resident retired after 28 years as a Navy corpsman.
Stein, a Scottsdale resident and investor, declined to seek re-election to the board so she could run for a seat in the Arizona House. She lost the race.
Stein said she plans to take part in public service and pursue personal interests.
"I am proud to have participated in the provision of lowcost, high-quality education to so many students, which in turn has helped drive the Valley economy forward," Stein said.
Stein was elected to her first six-year term in 1992, and served as board president in 1997 and 2002.
Rufus Glasper, the district’s chancellor, said Stein will be remembered for her commitment to students and fiscal responsibility.
Crowley also was elected to the board Nov. 2. He was appointed to the board in February to complete the term of Gene Eastin, who died in January. Crowley is a Phoenix firefighter who serves in the Navy Reserves. He ran unopposed in the Nov. 2 election.