Public health official would bring new perspective to utility
We support Dr. Adelita Cantu’s appointment as the next CPS Energy trustee. Dr. Cantu has a proven track record of community first practices and values. Dr. Cantu’s unwavering commitment to her community and to negotiating and diplomacy will be invaluable in upcoming board decisions.
With the climate crisis fully upon us and CPS Energy struggling with billions of dollars lost during winter storm Uri, the utility needs strong and thoughtful leadership. The board of trustees faces critical decisions about rates, investing in new energy sources, and assisting residents in need of bill assistance. The utility must change unfair rate structures that offer cheap energy to heavy users and the business class while burdening low energy users and residential customers.
A CPS Energy trustee term is five years and trustees are almost always reappointed for a second term. The next trustee, like those before her, will have outsized influence on the single largest public asset the City of San Antonio has – an asset that can be used to help people or that can harm the community with more pollution and higher bills. Following the events of winter storm Uri, and longstanding inequities within CPS Energy, the community deserves a board of trustees capable of serving the community.
Dr. Adelita Cantu is an exceptional member of the San Antonio community and an ideal candidate for the CPS Energy board of trustees. Her robust history of leadership, community service, public engagement, strategic planning and compassion are just what the CPS Energy board of trustees needs in these difficult times.
Dr. Cantu’s extensive experience in nursing and public health give her a valuable perspective on the lives and wellbeing of San Antonio residents. She started as a staff nurse for the McLennen County Health Department in Waco and is now a tenured Associate Professor at the UT Health San Antonio, School of Nursing. For decades, Dr. Cantu has centered marginalized and frontline communities at the forefront of the climate crisis. She reminds us that the changing climate is a significant threat to human health. Air pollution, rising temperatures, unprecedented floods, storms and extreme cold weather all take their toll on the San Antonio community – especially the most vulnerable. She knows that a decision about what type of energy to use or how to help struggling residents with their bills could have serious health consequences. Her public health background would be an asset to the CPS Energy board of trustees as it navigates complicated decisions that impact the community in a variety of ways.
For Dr. Cantu, education is about helping the community. For example, she received funding from the Aetna Foundation to create the Youth Leadership Academy for Air Quality. The Academy used the citizen scientist model to educate cohorts of youth from communities of color on sustainability of their local air and how to advocate for environmental stewardship. Another one of her successes is the SA Kids B.R.E.A.T.H.E. city program, which she helped to develop to improve asthma care at home.
Now more than ever, we see the importance of nurses in our lives. Dr. Cantu’s desire to help others and be a force for good is her primary motivator for her work as a nurse and an educator. In her partnership with Metro Health, Dr. Cantu is the point person for all of the COVID-19 vaccination pop-up clinics sponsored by UT Health San Antonio School of Nursing. Since March, they have hosted approximately 200 clinics. Dr. Cantu is from and of the San Antonio community and she puts in the time and effort to truly give back.
Dr. Cantu is a lifelong learner dedicated to sharing her knowledge with others. As a first-generation college graduate, she has a strong appreciation for the value of education. She seeks new information and creates new and innovative ways to pass that knowledge to others. Her inquisitive mind and drive to find practical solutions would be an asset to any organization. In the rapidly changing energy sector, these traits should be the top priority for any leadership position.
Serving on, and even leading, boards isn’t new for Dr. Cantu – it’s part of how she contributes to her profession and to the community. Her board service includes the International Association of Latino Nurse Faculty, Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments, and the National Association of Hispanic Nurses, among many others. She knows how to successfully guide an organization.
Dr. Cantu’s top three priorities, should she be appointed to the CPS Energy Board of Trustees are:
- Building trust and transparency between CPS Energy and all residents of San Antonio through more visibility and collaboration with the community and customers;
- Ensuring that CPS Energy makes strategic decisions relative to meeting the challenges of a changing climate and a just transition of the workforce; and
- Examining and implementing best practices to ensure financial stability of CPS Energy, as well as addressing the needs of customers, particularly the most vulnerable.
Dr. Adelita Cantu is a dedicated and compassionate leader who offers skills and knowledge that would be different from and compliment those of the other CPS Energy trustees. It takes more than one skill set to make a good team, and this is an opportunity to diversify CPS Energy leadership.
The San Antonio community needs a trustee that will challenge the norms and heal the relationships between CPS and the community. We believe Dr. Cantu is that person.