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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Turnout low for ASUA campaigning

    Education junior and Vice Presidential candidate, Patrick Cook campaigns to students near the James E. Rodgers Memorial Circle.  Candidates for 2006 ASUA senate, vice president, administrative vice president and student body president all had a chance to speak yesterday afternoon.
    Education junior and Vice Presidential candidate, Patrick Cook campaigns to students near the James E. Rodgers Memorial Circle. Candidates for 2006 ASUA senate, vice president, administrative vice president and student body president all had a chance to speak yesterday afternoon.

    Student government candidates planning to give brief speeches and outline their platforms to the student body yesterday afternoon found themselves speaking mostly to those already involved in the campaigns.

    The Associated Students of the University of Arizona Candidate Showcase’s success was affected by poor student turnout, the absence of four senatorial candidates and lack of a microphone or sound system to project the speakers’ voices over the din of the campus lunch hour, reducing the audience to candidates and their supporters.

    Kali White, a political science freshman, said the candidate showcase was informative, but she was disappointed by the low student turnout.

    “”I feel like that there’s not many people out here – it’s sad,”” White said.

    Candidates standing on the stage in the James and Perry Rogers Plaza kept speeches focused on their platforms instead of bashing opponents or mud-slinging.

    Before the last set of speeches by the three presidential candidates, ASUA elections commissioner Jordan Miller attempted to attract more audience numbers by asking passing students to stop and listen in.

    Senatorial candidates were limited to one minute for their speeches, executive and administrative vice presidential candidates’ time was capped at two minutes, and presidential candidates were able to speak for three minutes. The order in which speeches were given was decided by drawing names from a hat.

    Matt Van Horn, a senior majoring in entrepreneurship and marketing, said if he became president he would work to improve ASUA’s image and its communication with other student organizations. He said he would also raise the freshman retention rate by increasing student involvement on campus and redesigning the way student basketball tickets are distributed.

    Erin Hertzog, the acting ASUA president, divided her platform into three planks – student life, student voice and student issues.

    Hertzog, a journalism junior, said she would bring stadium concerts back to campus and create open forums where students could have a voice. She said she would also deal with class availability by refining the class selection process and by finding corporate sponsors to supply funding for new staff in colleges with stressed faculty resources.

    Ryan Montana Erickson, a public management and policy junior, downplayed the student impact of his two opponents’ programs. While he acknowledged the urgency of the class availability issue, Erickson said he would try to create a publicly-funded day-care center for the estimated 5,000 student parents he said are at the UA.

    During the speeches, the majority of candidates highlighted their previous working experience in student government.

    Christopher Leet, a student in the audience, said the achievements, initiatives and the general character that incumbents had during previous terms would be a key deciding factor when he votes.

    However, Leet, a management and entrepreneurship junior, said he thinks a lot of people don’t follow through with what they promise.

    Jami Reinsch, a senator running for administrative vice president, said she would try to create scholarships that ASUA could award and extend ASUA’s legal service program to include actual representation in court as well.

    Tyler Reece, a dietetics sophomore running for administrative vice president, announced his alliance with his brother, David Reece, who is running for executive vice president. As administrative vice president, Tyler Reece said he would increase marketing of student organizations and would be a good judge of character in appointing students to office.

    Pita Salido, an administrative vice presidential candidate, stressed the need to improve ASUA marketing and public relations and reform finances.

    Matt Theis, a pre-business freshman who came to watch Rhonda Tubbs speak, said while he is still unsure how he will vote, candidates’ platforms on club funding would be the deciding factor.

    The four executive vice president candidates, Patrick Cook, Michelle Gregory, David Reece and Rhonda Tubbs, all said they would reform or increase club funding and put more emphasis on marketing student organizations and events.

    Cook highlighted the $1,000 grant from the Davis-Monthan Federal Credit Union that he allocated for clubs as a senator.

    Tubbs employed the same tactic and described the programs she helped initiate as a senator, particularly the laptop-loan program.

    The senators took the stage to briefly outline their platforms, but because of time constraints, the 13 of 17 senatorial candidates who spoke had to use less than a minute.

    “”ASUA is a wasteful behemoth that doesn’t serve your interests,”” said Brad Burns, a candidate for senate.

    Burns said to improve ASUA, he would strive to make it a more effective lobbying body.

    Other issues candidates addressed included expanding wireless Internet on campus, tuition increases, textbook prices and class availability.

    Tom Connor said next year’s student government will be especially important because it will “”have a clean slate with the new president.””

    “”I’ve seen leaders come and go,”” said Sam Chang, an Arizona Student Association director who publicly endorsed Reinsch and Hertzog. “”I know what to look for in a leader.””

    Chang said he would like to see next year’s student government to be a more cohesive body.

    Miller asked students to make an “”informed decision”” after reading the candidate platforms online at http://elections.asua.arizona.edu.

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