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The Daily Wildcat

 

Q&A;: Daniel Hernandez

Will Ferguson/ Arizona Daily Wildcat-

Daniel Hernandez, a political science undergraduate and member of ASUA, ellaborates on his platform for ASUA president outside of the ASUA office in the Student Union Memorial Center on Monday.  Hernandez is running for ASUA president and is celebrated as a hero for his actions during the tragic shooting on Jan. 8, 2011.
Will Ferguson
Will Ferguson/ Arizona Daily Wildcat- Daniel Hernandez, a political science undergraduate and member of ASUA, ellaborates on his platform for ASUA president outside of the ASUA office in the Student Union Memorial Center on Monday. Hernandez is running for ASUA president and is celebrated as a hero for his actions during the tragic shooting on Jan. 8, 2011.

Daniel Hernandez is one of three men running for president of the Associated Students of the University of Arizona. He is a political science junior.

 

Daily Wildcat: What made you decide to run for ASUA president?

Hernandez: I started thinking about running last August. I was a campaign manager for two years, including Emily Fritze’s campaign. I am experienced with ASUA elections and the elections process, and I know the ASUA office really well. People approached me about running their campaign, but none of them were really all that prepared. A lot of the people who wanted to do it didn’t know all the different parts of being president. I know all the parts. After the state elections in November, I saw how hostile the state legislature had become and a difficult year ahead. I know I am the best candidate because of my experience and passion. I am really involved at the state capitol and at the UA. I was very involved with helping Proposition 100 get passed, which had a direct effect on students. Without it, there would have been massive cuts to universities and a tuition increase. I don’t think anyone else is as qualified because I know the issues. I drafted H.B. 2668, which, for the first time, allowed full-time students to be excused on election day to go vote, just like state employees. We need someone next year with a clear vision as to all the things we are facing. It wasn’t until after November that I decided, “”I’m in it.”” I know that I know how to win, and I know what to do with the position.

 

What has your journey in ASUA been like?

I’ve had a strange experience because, until this year, I have not been officially involved in ASUA because I have been working with ASA (the Arizona Students’ Association). I have always been around and been involved. I was an ASA senior fellow and worked on policy, research and lobbied at the capitol. As a freshman, I was an ASA intern and was really involved with UA Votes in 2008, which registered 4,500 students to vote in Arizona. I’ve been able to keep an outsiders perspective of ASUA because I saw problems and issues that were a part of the organization without actually being a part of it. I have a very critical viewpoint and see a lot of things that need improvement. I also have a great relationship with a lot of the people currently involved in ASUA.

 

If elected, what changes do you plan to make to the UA?

I have a lot of ideas, so many that I can’t fit them all into my platform. We need to work on accessibility towards and to the UA. I want to make a work-study bill, funded at the state level, that creates students jobs that are like internships in STEM programs. These positions ensure high quality opportunities for students with increased financial aid. It would be really difficult to get passed, but I have the relationships at the state legislature to at least get it introduced. I want to work on financial aid for students and increase ASUA revenue. ASUA has great programs that don’t meet their potential because they don’t have the funding. A way to do this, for example, would be going into Safe Ride vehicles and advertising in them, there is a lot of space. I would have to figure out the legalities, but if we can sell the advertising, it could become self-depending, and therefore wouldn’t need ASUA money or outside grants for things like vehicle maintenance. I also want to create a tiered survey. This would survey freshman/sophomores and junior/seniors on different things to find out what students actually want and need. It is good to get upper division feedback to see what has and hasn’t worked. Lastly, we need a referendum on fees. I know it will be challenging, but we can do it. It has been done in the past and done by other universities. We are students and we are getting a product: education. (The Arizona Board of Regents’) policy says we need student input for fees, and we need to start by getting a referendum. If students say they don’t need something by voting no, it sends a very clear message to the Board of Regents.

 

How are you feeling about the campaign process?

I am feeling really good. I am out there talking to students, and I’ve had the opportunity to talk to a lot of students all over the university and gotten positive feedback. I am really happy that people are talking about the issues. Tuition is no longer the main issue, but the overall cost of attendance. This needs to be our focus next year. It is all the little things like campus housing, meal plans, etc. that add up and make the cost of coming to the university a real burden.

 

How are you feeling about your competition?

I think they are both great people, however I know that I am the best qualified. I have been doing this for years, and I am ready to fight battles at the capitol. I know my own qualifications, and I am the most qualified.

 

A lot of people are looking at you running as opportunistic since the Giffords shooting. How would you respond to that?

You have to look at my record. This isn’t something I have been working towards since January, but since I was a freshman I have been dedicated to ASA. I have always been involved. Sophomore year, I (was) dedicated to being up at the capitol, and I think I did a good job. I am the only presidential candidate that can say I have helped (create) results that directly impacted students at the UA. I worked hard and diligently with Proposition 100. I can see why people would be concerned, but I have made change instead of just promising it. I have made positive changes for the entire student body, and that is who I want to represent.

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