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Antonio "Tony" Aguilar

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Don’t be surprised if 10 years from now, you see the name Antonio “Tony” Aguilar on your ballot.

Aguilar ’14, a government major from Thermal, Calif., has been active in politics, both in and out of school. Before transferring to the University of Redlands in 2012, Aguilar participated in student government at the College of the Desert.

“I was part of the Student Senate for California Community Colleges, and I would fly to Sacramento once a month, every month for two years to discuss problems facing community colleges,” he said. “I was part of Region 9, which stretched from Blythe to Rancho Cucamonga. We would meet at the different colleges to talk about the issues. Budget cuts were a big deal, and in March we would get together with students from the UC and CSU systems to march against cuts to higher education.”

Aguilar discovered the University of Redlands as a middle school student, when a representative came to a college fair. He liked everything about it, especially the fact that it was close to home.

“It was one of the few things that I’ve ever really wanted,” he said. “I grew up in a single family household, so it was hard financially, and I had to make a lot of sacrifices growing up.”

Once he made it to Redlands, Aguilar became a student worker in the Office of Marketing and Strategic Communications, assisting the Public Relations team. He also continued participating in politics, and interned for Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-Palm Desert). This experience will serve him well in the future, when he plans to work as a policy adviser to an elected official, and possibly even run for office himself.

“I have always been interested in policy, and how an issue becomes a problem and how it goes through the different stages,” he said. “When I was in student government at College of the Desert, I was introduced to the idea of shared government, and how all the stakeholders come to the table and get equal representation. You have to take these bigger and broader issues, look at the positive and negative effects, and figure out cost implications. I am interested in the whole process.”

Written by: Catherine Garcia


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