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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    24 fight for 10 ASUA senate seats

    The Associated Students of the University of Arizona elections last March saw just one presidential candidate and 13 Senatorial candidates vying for 10 Senate slots.

    Oh, what a difference a year can make.

    On the first day of allowed campaigning, ASUA officially has a new batch of candidates, including two for president and 24 Senate hopefuls.

    Only three current elected student government officials will be seeking another term, with Sen. Emily Fritze looking to move up to executive vice president and Sen. Stephen Wallace seeking a second Senate term.

    Fritze will be facing off against pre-business sophomore Kacie Channell.

    Sen. Gabby Ziccarelli has all but secured her place as next term’s administrative vice president, running unopposed as a write-in candidate.

    Write-in candidates are so designated because they were unable to provide enough petitioned signatures, and thus will not appear on ballots for the primary elections on Mar. 3 and 4.

    Candidates for president include Shane Cathers, a journalism junior transfer from Pima Community College and Phoenix College, and Arizona Students’ Association board member Chris Nagata.

    “”I feel like I’d be a great president,”” Cathers said. “”The ideas I have can really improve and help the university.””

    While this is his first year at the UA, Cathers has been in contact with ASUA and various organizations in order to understand the relationship between the student government and the rest of the university, he said.

    Nagata, a physiology junior, is in his third year of ASUA involvement and believes his first-hand experience will be integral to the future of the student government, Nagata said.

    “”I’ve been fortunate enough to have high experience with ASUA,”” he said. “”It’s my passion-slash-addiction, and so far I haven’t been able to kick the habit, so to speak.””

    As a write-in candidate, Nagata is not allowed to campaign until the week leading up to the general election on Mar. 10 and 11.

    The candidate turnout is the highest in the four years that President Tommy Bruce and Executive Vice President Jessica Anderson have been involved in ASUA. The organization is hoping to parlay that into a high voter turnout, Bruce said.

    Less than 10 percent of eligible voters, or 3,553 voters, cast their ballots in last year’s election.

    Elections Commissioner Kenny Ho attributed the high-candidate turnout to renewed student concern over the happenings of the UA campus.

    Because of such campus worries as the UA Transformation Plan, large-scale budget cuts and UA employee furloughs, students are realizing that they have an opportunity to stand up and take a leading role, Ho said.

    “”I’m just so excited that the candidates are coming out and people are interested in having a voice on campus,”” he said. “”I’m speechless.””

    Although he is only a freshman, Senatorial candidate Aaron Elyachar has high hopes for the UA student government’s future.

    The political science major is already heavily involved in the campus community, including such efforts as UAVotes2008, Jazz Band and ASUA’s Public Information Research Group. He is also a Villa del Puente Residence Hall representative for the Residence Hall Association and is on the tuba line of the Pride of Arizona marching band.

    Elyachar said his efforts as a senator will focus on student retention, as 21 percent of UA students drop out between their freshman and sophomore years.

    “”I’ve always wanted to serve students to the best of my ability,”” he said. “”It should be a positive future and a fun experience. I’m really excited.””

    The primary elections will narrow the field down to the 10 senators with the most votes, who will then move on to the following week’s general election. No executive candidates will be eliminated in this year’s primary election.

    The results of the general election will be announced on Mar. 11 at 8:30 p.m. in the Kiva Room of the Student Union Memorial Center.

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