Melissa Meek / Roundup
It’s not often a candidate running for office refuses to put up one poster advertising to vote for them, but that’s exactly what Gabriel Figueroa, Associated Students Organization Vice President-elect, did.
He “takes pride” in being the only candidate in this semester’s ASO election who didn’t put up a single poster, and instead, made it his mission to go out and talk to people.
“I wanted to make a statement,” he said. “We’re supposed to be communicators between the government and people.”
Figueroa, 28, has spent two semesters in the Pierce College ASO — his first unofficial and his second as a senator of the art department. As president of the Christian Club, he had to spend an enormous amount of time at the ASO.
He joined ASO because he was “always there” getting paperwork as president of the Christian Club.
“They told me, ‘You’re here so much, you should probably join,'” he said.
He became a senator of the art department and decided to run for vice president when his schedule finally allowed for it.
“The candidates running against me were good people and I (knew) I could bring something to the table,” he said.
Figueroa has worked closely with ASO President-elect Shani Simms before they were both elected. He added that Simms was “an inspiration.”
“I know (she’s) a really good person. I wouldn’t mind working with her,” he said.
Simms feels the same about Figueroa, saying she is looking forward to working with him at a higher level.
Figueroa, who has a four-year-old son and a new baby girl, Maliah Shilo, who was born Monday, also cites his wife as a huge supporter.
“She was here (election day) when the polls were up. As much as she can help, she’s willing to do so. That’s a cool plus,” he said.
Figueroa briefly attended Los Angeles Valley College in 1999. He moved on to work with union carpenters, but suffered a minor injury, leaving him to look for a new career.
“That kind of shocked me,” he said. “I kind of had an epiphany one night…if I was really hurt, my ability to provide for (my son) would just stop. I needed to go back to school. I wasn’t really focused (at Valley). I see him as a focus.”
He started classes at Pierce two years ago.
“I don’t think anything is so hard that you can’t handle (it),” he said.
Figueroa is not too nervous to take over the new vice president position.
“I’m very familiar with the order of command, so it’s not a huge stress,” he said.
Figueroa knows the importance of listening to the people he’s representing.
“It’s all about caring and clarity,” he said. “In order for there to be clarity, there has to be communication. For relationships, governments, everything, there has to be communication.”