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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Ponton twins embrace new VP roles

Annie Marum
Annie Marum / Arizona Daily Wildcat Brett Ponton, left, a marketing major, and double minor in Theater Arts and Communication stands with his twin brother Bryan Ponton, majoring in Journalism and Art History. The brothers are currently juniors who were both selected to the ASUA E-board for next year. The two say they plan to work together as professionals and brothers to make big changes.

Brett and Bryan Ponton are the first set of twins elected as executive officers in the Associated Students of the University of Arizona. Brett Ponton, a business marketing junior, is the current ASUA administrative vice president and was elected for a second term. Bryan Ponton, a journalism junior, is a current club advocate for ASUA and was elected executive vice president of ASUA for next year.

Daily Wildcat: How are you feeling about the outcome of your elections?

Brett: It was a very interesting election and it still feels unreal. I am so happy that I get to do it all over again as AVP. I don’t have to transition, so I can just start working, getting out applications and start making changes within programs and services. I feel like, come fall semester, I can really make a difference.

Bryan: I am happy it’s all over. I feel a nice change of “”stressfulness.”” I was stressed out about the election, and now I am (stressed) about the new monster of a position. I am really excited to learn new things every day and jump in with both feet, which my brother and I have to do right now to get the office up and running as we wait for the third piece to our puzzle.

How are you feeling about working together in ASUA next year, and what have you learned from working together in ASUA this year as the AVP and club advocate?

Brett: I’m excited because I know Bryan personally, and if there is something I need, I can tell him what it is without worry while still maintaining professionalism. He already knows me and how I work, and if I have a problem, I can ask him what we can do to change it. It will be fun to be next-door neighbors in the office.

Bryan: There is no “”awkward tip-toeing”” to get the other person to finish work. I can tell him point-blank to “”get your stuff done,”” and this will benefit ASUA. We have worked together in the past with our family, with projects in high school, and we know how one another works. We work well together and can use each other’s work styles to combat things.

Let’s say you disagree with each other on a decision being made within ASUA, or even outside of ASUA. How do you deal with that?

Brett: I respect Bryan’s feelings. If we are in our executive meeting and he brings something up that I’m not OK with, I’ll address it point-blank. I can also say something like “”Bryan, that is a great idea, however we might want to go in another direction.”” We debate all the time, and it’s for the better of ASUA. We can see every side to a situation by divulging into the “”nitty gritties”” and finding the best outcome. Our personal life does not belong in ASUA, and if there is a personal tiff, it would not come into play at the office. People expect us to always be fighting and have that brother rivalry, but I am excited to work with someone I know very personally.

Bryan: We are both looking out for what’s best for the office, and I believe there will never be a point where I say, “”Brett, you’re being unprofessional.”” Our dynamic is a new frontier for the office and for us. We have worked together before but not on this large of a scale. Our personal lives will not affect our work ethic.  

In what ways did you help each other during your campaigns?

Brett: I always had someone to go to if I was freaking out about getting enough votes or having a problem with the campaign team. He helped me with my elections my sophomore year for AVP, so he knew all the highs and lows of election season. He was an essential mental safety net to go to at the end of the day.

Bryan: As his campaign manager last year, I often told him that he was acting dramatic. But being on the other side showed me what it was like to fight for your spot in the office. It was nice to have someone to go to, campaign with me and share similar experiences. We had brainstorm sessions together to improve our campaigns and to get people excited to vote. It would have been hard to do that alone.

How are you responding to your slate’s campaign violations?

Brett: I am excited that our appeals went through and that they worked in our favor. The slates were a “”new ballgame”” for everyone, including ASUA. The violations helped us understand what changes need to be made to have the best possible student government.

Bryan: With slates, you go in as a team, and you take the downfalls for the team. Our slate was always there for each other, and there was never a point where I saw a slate member making any obvious violations. I feel that we played a fair election. As a journalism major, many people are asking me why ASUA isn’t being transparent, and I think we all should be. I am glad people were asking for those public records and finding out what the strikes against us were. Although I am happy that Brett and I “”rose above the ashes,”” and we now see that there are very clear problems not only with the elections code, but within ASUA in general. Going into the summer, we will have a lot of time to reflect on campaign season and start making large changes to the ASUA bylaws and the office itself.   

What are your plans for after you graduate?

Brett: My dream job would be to move to San Francisco and do public relations or marketing there, but as of now, I don’t have a concrete idea. Everyone expects me to go into government or law, but I don’t see my position in ASUA as a government position, but more of a service opportunity that makes a difference in a fun way. I would like to continue having service opportunities, so maybe I would work with a non-profit, but I’m not sure right now.

Bryan: I am kind of in the same boat as Brett in that I am not totally sure what I want to do post-graduation. As a journalism major, my professors tell me that journalism is a “”dying art,”” but I don’t believe them. I am interested in magazine work, and I like feature writing where I don’t have to suck out all personality from my writing. Public relations is also an option. I would love to move to New York and get out of Arizona, but it all depends on where I get a job.

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