UC Berkeley sophomore Jose Ignacio Reyes-Hernandez announced his independent candidacy for the ASUC Senate on Wednesday.
Reyes-Hernandez’s platform emphasizes expanding campus mental and physical health resources and challenging a campus culture that he said deprioritizes well-being. Reyes-Hernandez, who has asthma, also plans to push for research about respiratory diseases and to encourage leniency for students with respiratory illnesses.
A political science major and an intended education minor, Reyes-Hernandez previously worked as the publicity and media director for the Latinx Pre-Law Society and at the Mental Health Coalition, which promotes campus mental health resources. Reyes-Hernandez is currently pledging Alpha Phi Omega, a service fraternity.
After working as a campaign manager for current ASUC Senator Jenica Bautista — who ran with Student Action — during the 2017 election, Reyes-Hernandez chose to run as an independent candidate in order to have more autonomy and because of disagreements over the party’s priorities.
“Mental health shouldn’t be a bipartisan issue,” Reyes-Hernandez said. “We come from different parties and platforms, but we should all collaborate on these efforts.”
Raised in Calexico, California, Reyes-Hernandez spent weekends in Mexico, where his father’s family owned land. In Calexico and Mexico, Reyes-Hernandez worked for national nonprofits that trained families in cost-effective methods for preventing asthma triggers and conducted relevant research.
Campus sophomore Karine Titizian, Reyes-Hernandez’s campaign manager, said she appreciated his determination as well as his ability to balance focus and fun.
Titizian added that as a senator, Reyes-Hernandez will push to create spaces where students can go to watch TV, play video games and generally de-stress on campus. She offered the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union as a prospective location for these spaces.
“Jose’s platform is very much like Jose: fun and unique while addressing a serious topic that is in need of change,” Titizian said in an email.
Voting for the ASUC elections will be held April 9–11.