Young democrat gains seat on governing board


Denis Perez / The Advocate

Alexander Walker-Griffin was appointed to California Community College Governing Board on July 17 by Governor Jerry Brown.

By Michael Santone, Associate Editor

Alexander B. Walker-Griffin, 19, from Hercules was appointed to the California Community College Governing Board by Governor Jerry Brown on July 17.

Walker-Griffin will serve a two- year term beginning Thursday, as one of 17 student trustees that preside over the 72 community college districts and the 114 community colleges in California.

Walker-Griffin is the Associated Student Union President at Contra Costa College as well as president of the CCC Community Organizing and Political Action Club (COPA).

“I still can’t believe it,” he said. “I’ve been constantly rereading the email since I found out.”

“It’s really due to my mother. She encouraged me to apply.”

Walker-Griffin is a democrat and has been involved in local politics since 2016 as a public policy intern at the Richmond City Council as well as an intern in the Office of Congressman Mark DeSaulnier.

Walker-Griffin said his passion for politics comes from his family, who after the passing of his father, began to feel the burden of only one household income.

As a student, he said he understands the financial burdens that come with attending college as well as the struggles that can be placed on minorities.

Walker-Griffin said that CCC has prepared him for many different political opinions because it is a “unique” area, economically and culturally.

“I’m looking forward to being able to serve all people and make myself more accessible,” he said. “I’m not doing it for myself but as a role model for other men and women of color.”

Student Life Coordinator Joel Nickelson-Shanks said Walker-Griffin will bring leadership and vision to the Board of Governors.

“He looks at the bigger picture and he is well informed,” Nickelson-Shanks said.

Nickelson-Shanks said Walker-Griffin works hard and likes to prioritize, which are great skills when dealing in politics.

“He shows up at the right time and follows through on what he says.”

Although Walker-Griffin is young, Nickelson-Shanks said he is well balanced and is able to figure out solutions on his own.

“He has a different point of view. It’s hopeful and optimistic,” Nickelson-Shanks said.

Deputy Press Secretary Brian Ferguson said initially Walker-Griffin will go into the “non-voting slot,” and next year after the other student trustee terms out he will move into the “the voting slot.”

Other than voting, there is no other difference, Ferguson said. He will continue his duties as a member of the Board of Governors.

According to the legislative information on, the Board of Governors develops and implements a more comprehensive community college educational and fiscal accountability system.

This includes promoting student access and success in community colleges, the student transfer rates, programs and academic standards as well as student achievement.