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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    ASUA’s potential presidents promote platforms

    With the Associated Students of the University of Arizona’s General Elections concluding today, the Daily Wildcat’s Shain Bergan sat down with presidential candidate Shane Cathers, as well as write-in presidential candidate Chris Nagata, to discuss their platforms, plans for the future and how ASUA will reverse student apathy toward the student government.

    Shane Cathers
    “”I’m coming from the outside with the big picture-narrowing my focus into a small area with the big picture in mind.””

    Daily Wildcat: Why do you think you would be a good fit for the presidency, and what kind of change would you bring about while you are in office?

    Shane Cathers: Well, one thing is, I have extreme confidence not only in myself and my own capabilities, but in the people as well. One of my primary goals within ASUA will be to bring the community together. That’s going to involve bringing ASUA closer to eye level with the students and making it a little bit easier and more comfortable for students to get involved with ASUA.

    How are you going to do that?

    Hopefully through a series of ways to express information about ASUA. I guess you could use the buzz word “”transparency”” … I want the students to know that they’re practically funding ASUA by the relationship ASUA has with the (UofA) Bookstore, so they have the right to know where their money’s going. Essentially they’re paying taxes … Also, the clubs have the right to have access to up to $100,000 that ASUA sets aside for them. I would love to hopefully take away a little bit of the red tape in accessing those funds for clubs.

    OK, so you mentioned earlier “”transparency.”” Do you feel like ASUA hasn’t been quite as transparent as they should be?

    That would be hard for me to say. I haven’t seen it firsthand. From what I understand – from people on campusð – they can be a little more transparent. One thing I think they could do a little better is advertise their meetings under the Open Meetings Act of Arizona. They can, once again, give students and media a chance to come and be involved and watch.

    You’re coming in from the outside of the whole ASUA spectrum. We’ve seen a lot of candidates who have backgrounds in ASUA. You’re coming in from Pima Community College and from Phoenix College. How do you see your outsider role going into the campaign?

    My outside perspective would be an advantage, because especially in the times that we are in now, we need to come up with creative ways to evolve and advance our university and the community around us. From the inside, you may get in such a narrow mind where creativity is not sparked to its fullest limit. For me, I’m coming from the outside with the big picture – narrowing my focus into a small area with the big picture in mind. So I can give something – as long as I understand what its purpose is – immense direction in relationship to other clubs, organizations and the administration just from my perspective.

    You come in and decide to just go for the whole thing, with the presidential candidacy. Why not start out warming up with maybe a senatorial candidacy-

    (interrupts) I have been warming up my whole life. I wouldn’t just jump into something that I didn’t think I could tackle … I’ve always been involved with community doing volunteer work with PBS, the Andre House, which is a food shelter (in Phoenix), Habitat for Humanity, even raising money for the Phoenix Children’s Hospital … Whether I win this election or not, I’m still going to take large leaps for what I believe in … I always continue to look to advance, because I’m not perfect – not even damn close. But I definitely have the best intentions.

    Chris Nagata
    “”What makes me more qualified is, I definitely have the experience as far as ASUA is concerned, and just overall U of A experience.””

    Daily Wildcat: What do you think makes you the best presidential candidate, and what do you think qualifies you for the office?

    Chris Nagata: What makes me the best candidate is I’m extremely passionate about student service. Furthermore, what makes me more qualified is, I definitely have the experience as far as ASUA is concerned, and just overall U of A experience.

    What’s something you, if you’re elected, and the rest of the Senate can do to ease the pain with things like rising tuition, fees, budget cuts?

    Nagata: If we could have some predictability measures in tuition, I think that would be a huge bonus and a huge plus. Also, if we could have some student oversight specific to fees students would be responsible for – that way, it’s their priorities and their concerns that are being met and satisfied because that’s through their oversight and their decision-making that those fees would be allocated and spent.

    Last general election, we saw an abysmal turnout – we saw less than 10 percent of eligible voters come out and vote in the general elections. What are some things you can do while in office to reverse that apathy toward the student government?

    One thing that I think will curtail some of that is just getting more students involved in elections, as you see both (administrative vice president) and (executive vice president) campaigns are being run unopposed. I think if elections are more highly contested, I think we’d have a much better voter turnout. We’ve witnessed that already with the primaries, because the Senate seats were so highly contested, with 23, 24 senators vying for the 10 spots. I mean, there was a lot of volatility there.

    One thing we’re seeing this year in the presidential race is the traditional kind-of classic battle between what’s perceived as experience versus what’s perceived as change. You’re already well-established within (the Arizona Students Association) and Shane (Cathers) is coming in from an outsider perspective. How do you see this battle of experience versus change?

    By no means do I want to keep ASUA stagnant. By no means am I just going to be the one who, if elected, just continues status quo. I think there are multiple areas in the office to improve on, and I’m looking forward to improving those areas. I think experience is key, though. Experience is vital. The presidency is such a huge responsibility, and it requires a significant amount of knowledge and institutional knowledge, and I think the best way to be obtaining that is by first-hand experience by actually physically doing the service and the work that’s necessary of the student body presidency.

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