The young Latino known as the man who stayed by Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ side after she was shot in the head, has been elected to an Arizona school board position.
Daniel Hernandez Jr., 21, was elected to the board of a Tucson-area school district less than a year after he was credited with helping save Rep. Giffords’ life, but call him a hero and he’ll be the first to say he is not.
After the January 8th shooting outside a Tucson supermarket, which killed six people, Daniel Hernández Jr. became a pseudo-celebrity when everyone wanted to take to the young intern that saved Giffords’ life.
However, after speaking to numerous media outlets he says he was looking to make a bigger difference than just being seen with First lady Michelle Obama at the State of Union address after the shooting or throwing out the first pitch at the MLB All-Star game.
Wanting to do something “concrete”, Hernandez decided to run for a position on the Sunnyside Unified School District Governing Board, the district he graduated from in 2008.
In his official candidate statement, he said, “The roots that I have in this district go far and they go deep. For years I have been passionate about public service and since my start at the University of Arizona I have been an advocate for education. My work at the capitol advocating for affordable and accessible higher education for all Arizonans has given me valuable insight that I want to bring to the school board. We have seen many changes that have improved our district and I feel I can contribute to the future success of our students and our community.”
In no part of his statement did he mention his involvement in saving of Giffords, and at no part during his campaign did he speak about that day or anything to do with the terrifying event.
While education is the new board member’s main focus, as an openly gay man he has also served on the Tucson Commission on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Issues.
And though Hernandez loss a bid to become President of the University of Arizona’ student government in April, he won 61 percent of the vote in the Sunnyside Election.