Helen Aguirre Ferré has stepped down as chairwoman of the Miami Dade College Board of Trustees. The Hispanic communications chief for the Republican National Committee will remain on the board as a rank-and-file member.
“I don’t have the time right now to be able to devote all the time and attention that Miami Dade College needs,” Aguirre Ferré said. “Miami Dade College is a huge institution, it requires a lot of time and effort. I’ve been so blessed and fortunate to be able to do that. It’s time for somebody else to come in.”
Aguirre Ferré, 58, took the role in the RNC in early June and faced calls to step down from immigration reform activist groups and the head of the Miami-Dade Republican Party. Miami Dade College has a large immigrant student population and has issued scholarships to undocumented immigrants in the past.
She insists that her decision to step down was not because of a perceived conflict of interest but because of a busy travel schedule with the Republican Party that prevents her from being in Miami. Aguirre Ferré was not present at Wednesday’s meeting that installed attorney Armando Bucelo as the new chairman.
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“I think this was the first meeting I’ve missed since 1999,” Aguirre Ferré said. “I don’t even know how many years I’ve been board chair. It’s good to have a fresh set of eyes to look and help contribute.”
Activists called on Aguirre Ferré to step down because her new job requires her to support Donald Trump, who wants to build a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border and deport undocumented immigrants. Aguirre Ferré, who served as a senior adviser to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign, deleted anti-Trump tweets from her Twitter account before taking the job with the Republican Party.
“My professional work has always been separate from politics,” Aguirre Ferré said. “As far as Miami Dade College goes, we are appointed by Republican governors, we’re all Republicans, so it’s not a surprise that I am a Republican, as well.”