Tucson Progressive

Pamela J. Powers, a progressive voice for Arizona

If Richard Carmona Were a Student Today, Would Pima College Accept Him? (video)

US Senate Candidate and former Surgeon General Dr. Richard Carmona makes no bones about his life on the streets of Harlem as the son of Puerto Rican immigrants.

A self-described “street kid” who dropped out of high school, Carmona entered the Marines at 17 during the Vietnam War and got a GED so he could join the Special Forces. At the urging of his military buddies, Carmona applied for college and was rejected by all of them except for one– Bronx Community College.

Bronx had an open admission program for returning Vietnam vets; no transcripts or SAT scores were necessary for admission. That community college opportunity for a street kid from Harlem gave the US a dedicated civil servant, an even-handed Surgeon General, and perhaps a US Senator.

Would Pima Community College have accepted Richard Carmona? Pima had an open admissions program— until they decided to drop it last fall. The new admission rules took effect in March 2012.

How many Richard Carmonas will be denied an education in Arizona because of budget cuts, stricter admission standards, and poor high school preparation? Thousands.

In the video below, Carmona talks about the opportunity Bronx Community College gave him and his support for the DREAM Act.

Originally posted on Blog for Arizona on May 5, 2012.

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The Tucson Progressive: Pamela J. Powers

I stand on the side of Love. I believe in kindness to all creatures on Earth and the inherent self-worth of all individuals–not just people who agree with me or look like me.

Widespread economic and social injustice prompted me to become a candidate for the Arizona House, representing Legislative District 9 in the 2016 election.

My platform focused on economic reforms to grow Arizona’s economy, establish a state-based public bank, fix our infrastructure, fully fund public education, grow local small businesses and community banks, and put people back to work at good-paying jobs.

In the Arizona House, I was a strong voice for fiscal responsibility a moratorium on corporate tax breaks until the schools were fully funded, increased cash assistance to the poor, expansion of maternal healthcare benefits, equal rights, choice, unions, education at all levels and protecting our water supply.

After three terms, I retired from the Arizona Legislature in January 2023 but will continue to blog and produce my podcast “A View from the Left Side.”

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