Alex Diaz Rios to run for PCC Board Zone 7 seat, representing western Washington County.

Diaz RiosA Hillsboro man is looking to represent western Washington County on the Portland Community College Board of Directors.

Alex Diaz Rios has thrown his hat into the race for the PCC board's Zone 7 seat, which represents the Hillsboro and Forest Grove area.

Diaz, who teaches social studies and college and career readiness at Westview High School and CREATE Alternative School in Cornelius, announced Monday, Feb. 11, he intends to seek the open position. The seat is currently held by Deanna Palm, president of the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce.

Diaz serves on the budget committees for the City of Hillsboro and the Hillsboro School District. He previously applied for an open position on the Hillsboro City Council left vacant by current-Mayor Steve Callaway in 2017. That seat was ultimately filled by Councilor Olivia Alcaire, who served the remainder of Callaway's term on the council.

"I believe that my experience as a recent college student and educator is the voice that our community needs to be represented by at this level," Diaz's campaign wrote in a prepared statement. "A theme that I hear from students is that they feel left out of the process. I want to join students in partnership and give them the answers they deserve."

A graduate of the Hillsboro School District, Diaz previously worked as a graduation coach at Liberty High School where he mentored predominantly at-risk students of color, according to his campaign.

"Being a former student of PCC's Gateway to College (a pre-college for at-risk students), I know firsthand that power that community colleges have on students and the community," he said.

Diaz said he plans to focus on keeping tuition costs down — including advocating against Gov. Kate Brown's proposed budget, which cuts funding for community colleges — to advocate for more student voices on board decisions, and to work with local K-12 districts, businesses and community organizations to strengthen career technical education programs.

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