Lewis Center Welcomes Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Calvert to UIW


2月4日星期四. 15 the UIW Lewis Center of the Americas kicked off its Spring 2024 lineup of Conversations with Ambassador Creagan, a live discussion series that aims to bring government leaders and political thought influencers to campus to share ideas on improving international relations and bolstering democracies. The conversation this month featured special guest Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Calvert, the first African American and youngest commissioner elected in Bexar County.  

Calvert represents over 500,000 residents in Precinct 4 of the 2 million who call Bexar County home. 在他的众多成就中, he saved Randolph Air Force Base from closure as chairman of the Randolph Joint Land Use Committee. He also chairs the Bexar County Cyber and IT Initiative where he developed curriculum with the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce in CompTIA, 网络+和其他IT课程, so that San Antonio high school students can work in six-figure IT jobs that may have otherwise gone to out-of-town candidates. 在他担任县专员之前, 他领导了美国反奴隶制组织, the first anti-human trafficking organization founded in the United States since reconstruction, 帮助释放超过6人,000名苏丹奴隶. 

大使博士. James F. Creagan, 这个系列是以谁的名字命名的, had an over 30-year career as a diplomat in the Foreign Service and has held positions as Chargé d’Affaires and Deputy Ambassador to Italy and, 分别, 罗马教廷. 他被命名为U.S. Ambassador to Honduras by President Bill Clinton in 1996. In 2009, 在奥巴马总统领导下, Creagan served as Chargé d’Affaires to Bolivia and Chief of the U.S. 任务. 今天, he is a professor of Political Science at Incarnate Word, 也是美洲刘易斯中心的研究员.  

格里根和卡尔弗特坐在医生旁边. 拉斐尔•霍伊尔, director of the Lewis Center of the Americas and event moderator, for an hour-long discussion regarding the connection between “the global and the local” when it comes to the work being done to enact positive change in the world. Students and faculty members alike listened intently as the two shared their vast experiences and offered insights into how micro-level efforts can cause global effects and vice versa. 在讨论过程中, 卡尔弗特与学生们分享了这一点, 虽然看起来不像, the work done at the local government level can have positive global implications, 鼓励他们参加地方选举. Several students registered to vote for the very first time at the event, thanks to the League of Women Voters representatives who were on site to help guide them through the process.  

“Everything under the sun falls under a county commissioner,” Calvert explained of the important role local government officials play, and why it’s important to become involved in politics at the local level. “It’s one of the most powerful positions in government that most people know nothing about.” 

那个位置, 他解释说, includes everything from working to combat climate change by offsetting the reduced tree canopy brought on by new construction in Bexar County, to working with international governments and police forces to train them to identify and stop corruption in their home countries. Bexar County’s Commissioners Court is also responsible for decisions regarding budgets, 税收和收入, 和人员. The Court also appoints and monitors the actions of all county department heads other than those offices headed by elected officials. 

Creagan shared that just like local policies trickle up to make national and international impacts, so do national and global efforts trickle down to the local level. He explained that during his time as Ambassador to Honduras, much of his work involved becoming directly and intimately involved with the country’s towns and communities.  

甜酒Valladares, 来自洪都拉斯的国际商科学生, shared that she was pleasantly surprised to learn from Creagan about the U.S.他的工作遍及世界各地, 包括她的祖国, and the tangible impact that work can have in the lives of individuals. 

“克里根大使是我的祖国的大使. I was surprised how much the United States government helped my country,” she shared when asked what she learned about the global and local connection. “有时我们看不到这一点.”   

在讨论过程中, Calvert was also asked about what his place in history as the youngest and first Black county commissioner in Bexar County means to him. 他的回应传达了团结的信息. 

“我就是汤米,一直都是,”卡尔弗特解释说. “I believe I won because of ideas – because I was able to listen to people and have a track record of working with them … It’s a tremendous honor, 但我从来没有竞选过第一位黑人专员, and I didn’t want to rest on my laurels as that being my biggest accomplishment. The biggest accomplishment I hope that people will see is what we did and how we did it.” 

“科学地说,我们已经99岁了.9%的基因是相同的,”他继续说道. “我们是人类. And that’s really the ministry … I want to bring people 关闭r together … I want us to see those differences go away.”  

Event attendees left the event feeling inspired to become more involved in making the world a better place.  

“Sometimes we forget how important protecting democracy is,瓦拉达雷斯在讨论结束时分享道. “We are the ones who are going to pass it on to our children and grandchildren. It was great that they emphasized how important it is, not only in America, but worldwide.”