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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Wildcat ASUA Endorsements

    President: Tommy Bruce

    There’s something ineffable about Tommy Bruce. After spending an exhilarating hour in front of our editorial board, even the staunchest cynics here at the Arizona Daily Wildcat saw a glimmer of hope in student government.

    This year’s presidential race is an unprecedented one – Bruce is running unopposed, guaranteed to be re-elected as the UA’s first two-term student body president. Lack of any opposition whatsoever would normally be a powerful indicator of student apathy. But this year, the absence of a serious presidential challenger may be the best testament to the excellence and hard work that defined Bruce’s first term in office.

    Tommy Bruce combines detailed and precise policy wonkery regarding all things UA with a near-psychotic sense of dedication to his job. Now, he has the added benefits of a year of experience heading the Associated Students of the University of Arizona and a keen understanding of how to collaborate with other policymakers at the university to make demanding ideas a reality.

    Bruce’s list of projects and accomplishments this year is so long it’s tiring. Childcare, general education reform, campus sustainability, special events, academic advising, tuition, fees and textbook costs – the list of issues Bruce has tried to tackle (mostly successfully) goes on and on. In fact, for the second year in a row, Bruce ran out of time explaining all of his achievements to the editorial board. That’s usually a bad sign, meaning a candidate has tried to take on too much and will usually achieve nothing. But Bruce has done an almost superhuman job single-handedly shouldering most of the burden of student government.

    More importantly, he has no intention to let up. We don’t like giving any candidate a free pass, but Bruce has earned the opportunities afforded by a second term in office. He hopes to continue working on a waitlist system for course registration and a substitution policy for Gen ed requirements, as well as take on campus safety and sustainability as new focus issues for ASUA. He also recognizes the importance of preparing for a post-Bruce future, with plans to revamp ASUA elections, increase collaboration between student government, faculty and administration and repair ASUA’s image with town halls and transparency.

    After more than an hour of excitedly describing his plans for the future of student government, Bruce paused for a moment during our interview Sunday afternoon. “”I’m really excited to go back to the office right now,”” he said.

    We’re excited, too.


    Administrative Vice President: James Pennington-McQueen

    In a year of otherwise lackluster campaigns, the race for administrative vice president is one of the most competitive, and for good reason – both candidates vying for the position are especially qualified for the job. Seema Patel and James Pennington-McQueen, both current ASUA senators, presented detailed visions for the role, responsible for overseeing and organizing a daunting list of programs and services provided by ASUA. Both have the capability and commitment to run ASUA’s smorgasbord of services. But Pennington-McQueen’s eye for scrutiny and consolidation gives him an edge over Patel.

    Pennington-McQueen’s platform is centered on “”ASUA Pulse,”” a polling system designed to give student leaders feedback on the popularity of ASUA’s services and help gauge student opinion. It’s an ambitious proposal that has its potential pitfalls, but the idea is evidence of Pennington-McQueen’s sensible drive to make ASUA respond to student needs with action based on data rather than speculation.

    More importantly, Pennington-McQueen isn’t afraid to eliminate and combine redundant and useless functions of student government. His proposal to unify campus safety initiatives, cut many of ASUA’s wasteful and ineffective “”marketing”” jobs and terminate the superfluous ASUA Speakers Board are the kind of gritty tweaks our stagnant student bureaucracy needs. On a grander scale, his plan to help transform Pride Alliance and the Women’s Resource Center into independent organizations with full-time directors is an important one. According to Pennington-McQueen, allowing one undergraduate to oversee crucial offices like these is “”at best unfair, and at worst institutionally irresponsible.”” We agree – removing Pride Alliance and the resource center from ASUA’s aegis is a crucial step for student government.

    Administrative vice presidents have traditionally been hands-off trustees for ASUA services, managing and expanding programs that already exist. Pennington-McQueen’s nuanced platform demonstrated his capacity to fill that role. But he hopes to go a step further, as a skeptical, hardworking reformer inside ASUA. That’s exactly what our student government needs.


    Executive Vice President: Jessica Anderson

    Like President Tommy Bruce, Jessica Anderson is running for her second term as executive vice president. Anderson has a clear passion for the work she does, struggling to keep her many points, plans and ideas within the time allotted for her interview. Unlike Bruce, she has a worthy competitor for her job.

    It remains to be seen how effective Anderson will be in achieving her formidable goals. Her main goal is to expand funding for clubs, which she believes is currently insufficient. She also wants to reinstate “”initial funding:”” start-up funds for clubs, where up to $200 can be allocated for basic items such as T-shirts and office supplies without navigating the bureaucratic labyrinth of the appropriations system.

    Anderson is also aware of Arizona’s changing fiscal climate, and proposes an increase in outside funding opportunities for clubs, like the student vendors who worked at the Super Bowl. She foresees similar large events, like the upcoming Kanye West concert, as a way to supplement club funding.

    Yet Anderson would do well to heed the proposals of her opponent, Chasen Moses. While we ultimately chose not to endorse Moses, he deserves to be commended. Moses provided a detailed look inside the arduous process clubs must go through to get funding from the appropriations board. He proposed doubling the number of club advocates, as well as sorting clubs into several categories, allowing advocates to specialize in the Byzantine rules that govern specific aspects of appropriations. This paper believes Moses would be an excellent member of the appropriations board, and we hope he finds a place in the next ASUA administration.

    His platform outside the singular issue of appropriations, however, pales in comparison to Anderson’s experience and policy proposals. The other major aspect of the executive vice president’s job is serving as the chief spokesperson of the Senate. While it is easy to criticize the ASUA Senate, the infelicities of this year’s Senate pale in comparison to those of years past. Under Anderson, ASUA has begun the process of emerging from past scandal. Her first term illustrated her competency, a trait that is far too rare in this world, and downright exotic in student government.


    Senate

    Gabby Ziccarelli: Gabby Ziccarelli is the kind of candidate ideal for ASUA – hopeful and passionate enough to aim high and work hard, yet pragmatic and grounded enough to ensure her promises are feasible. A triple major in communication, Italian and history, Ziccarelli, who currently serves as the ASUA chief of staff of programs and services, may not have one of the most new or exciting platforms – healthier student food options and ASUA reform are perennial topics on the ASUA agenda. Yet, Ziccarelli’s depth of research and experience already work toward setting up her proposed measures, demonstrating her promise as an effective ASUA senator. Ziccarelli’s proposal for a Student Nutrition Coalition, or SNC (replete with the adorable pronunciation “”snack””), works to continue the current trend of bringing healthier food to campus. As much as we scorn attempts by ASUA candidates to create yet another program, SNC, to be composed of 15 to 20 students, will act as a student voice for healthier food choices along with Dining Services and the Student Health Advisory Council.

    Additionally, Ziccarelli plans to rejuvenate the Off-Campus Housing Web site to make it more accessible and useful to students and forge an alliance between ASUA, the Center for Student Involvement and Leadership and the Residence Hall Association. Ziccarelli also promises to continue her efforts to get a paid director for the ASUA Women’s Resource Center. In a pool of candidates trumpeting vague new programs rather than achievable initiatives, Ziccarelli’s stands out not only for her solid platform, but for her confidence, poise and hard-working attitude.

    Emily Fritze: While many senatorial candidates proposed the same run-of-the-mill ideas we’ve heard for years (or, failing that, innovative but utterly inane ones), the planks of Emily Fritze’s platform were not only unique, but feasible too. Fritze proposes enrolling the UA in the USA Today Collegiate Readership Program, which provides as many as three national daily newspapers for college campuses at a minimal cost. While we’re certain the Daily Wildcat provides more than ample coverage, the presence of national news sources will help foster the worldview that the university hopes to instill in its students. This may seem minor, but when it comes to Senate proposals, smaller is oftentimes better: A minimal improvement that actually happens is always better than strong words that yield nothing.

    Fritze has an even more impressive proposal for the parking lot closed for expansion of the Student Recreation Center – she proposes turning the lot into a field, which would either be used as a location for student tailgating or for intramural sporting events (although conceivably a single field could satisfy both functions). This is a long-term project, but Fritze recognizes and is reconciled to this. This proposal, unlike so many others we heard from Senate candidates, was well-planned and viable.

    In her research, Fritze demonstrated serious commitment in ensuring the practicality of her proposals. She has contacted several officials in determining whether or not her ideas can actually become reality, and is candid in her outlook on their future (which is all too rare when dealing with political candidates). Overall, Emily Fritze brings not only a sense of professionalism, but also interesting suggestions that may actually improve the typical student’s life on campus.

    Rosie Reid-Correa: Rosie Reid-Correa’s ambitious platform is offset by her refreshingly realistic approach to ASUA. Falling under her larger theme of increasing advocacy for underrepresented groups is her intention to move both the Women’s Resource Center and Pride Alliance out of ASUA, allowing both groups to take on a greater, more independent advocacy role. Reid-Correa is also concerned with accurate representation of the UA student body, and her alternate idea of a Senate comprised of one representative from each college, while a radical change, is a practical response to the perennial issue of overrepresentation of some groups on campus and ignorance of the needs of others. In addition to her concern with representation, campus safety and increased resources for internships are among her other senatorial goals. Reid-Correa, like many other candidates, has lofty proposals for huge changes within ASUA and the university at large. What sets her apart is her keen grasp of the difficulties she faces and her responsibilities as a member of ASUA Senate, making her uniquely qualified among this pool of candidates to serve UA students.

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