Election 2009: Future in next ASG’s hands

It took Americans three years to publicize, politicize, polarize, prod, and after it all, pick who would run their government.

Beginning April 28, we will have ten days to decide who will run ours.

While ballots cast for last year’s Presidential Election may have determined who would fill a much larger set of cubicles, the race to fill the ten open Associated Student Government seats has all thirty-nine candidates campaigning like it’s 2008 again.

“I hope students take this seriously,” said Amanda Alva, current ASG president. “The [new] ASG will have a lot of responsibility; they will work with legislators and million dollar budgets.”

Two presidential candidates are contending to fill Alva’s shoes: John Daniel Peppe, the current Associate Chief Justice; and Joseph Root, a new face to the ASG.

Root, a former project and club leader, has worked in business management; Peppe, a history major, has in addition to his legal function also represented students alongside the ASG in Olympia and during student forums.

Presidential and vice presidential candidates will debate during candidate forums in the cafeteria from 11:30-12:30 p.m., Monday, April 27.

Current ASG officers will moderate, posing currently undisclosed questions to the candidates. The floor will then be opened for public questions.

Judicial candidates will debate during the same time block Wednesday, and Representative candidates will debate Tuesday from 11:30 to 1:30 p.m. Voting online and in person opens Tuesday, with the ASG barbecue in the campus courtyard outside the E building from 11 to 2 p.m.

Free burgers, ice cream, and beverages will be served by club volunteers and current ASG officers to encourage students to vote.

Volunteering ASG candidates will do setup and takedown. Three microphones will be set up, likely to provide candidates the opportunity to introduce themselves and discuss their campaigns.

Ten classic cars will be displayed nearby to add to the event’s festivity.

Part of the candidate team Voice of Change, Root is running with Chapman Chung for VP of Finance and Communication and Luis Sanchez for VP of equity and pluralism.

“We need an ASG that is more in tune with students,” said Root. “The college is expanding; we need to reflect that change.” Root wants to cut the portion of students fees put into ASG savings to increase money available for the math and reading lab, and the career, multi-cultural, and women’s centers.

He wants to promote opensource classrooms, update the ASG website, develop a web textbook trading site, and better develop career path opportunities on campus.

The current ASG, according to Root, has not succeeding in being visible to all corners of the campus. Root wants to change that.

His opponent Peppe, is running with the team Students Foremost alongside Fiona Soyan Liu for VP of Equity and Pluralism, Carolyn DeWitt for Environmental and Social Responsibility Representative, Sunny Ho for Clubs and Programs representative, Jean- Claude Kameni for Emerging Technology and Entrepreneurial Representative, Bernard Ellouk for Chief Justice, and Jessica Hiuyan Yip for Associate Justice of External Affairs.

Peppe wants to work to minimize tuition increases, protect student services and programs from being hurt by college budget cuts, develop a student-run bookstore, promote open source and electronic textbooks, and prevent the ASG from increasing student fees.

“We have been asking students what they want to see change,” Peppe said.

Students Foremost will be participating in the “Walk and Roll for Change and Hope” 2K marathon, according to campaign worker Branden Audet, and has plans to take the group to volunteer at Seattle’s tent city.

Students For Change, another candidate team, is comprised of candidates Ayesha Pirbhai for VP of Finance and communication, Ramish Ahmad for VP of Finance and Communication, Yasir Jazaeri for Clubs and Programs representative, and Mohammad Ahmed for Associate Justice of External Affairs.

“Particularly where faculty isn’t available,” said Jazaeri, “our goal is to be a bridge between students and the administration.”

An untitled group running together is comprised of Courtney Felt for Clubs and Programs Representative, Yosua Nainggola for VP of Equity and Pluralism, Janet Bai for Marketing and Public Relations Representative, and Jason Shengyi Gu for Environmental and Social Responsibility Representative.

“We can oversee a lot of different groups and still be effective,” said Felt. “We can work within parameters and still accomplish our goals.”

The majority of candidates are running independently:

  • For VP of Equity and Pluralism: Bridget Geopfert, Steve Ferreira and Ribka Liong. Clubs and Programs representative: Andres Munt, Annette Pettit, and Wai Leong Lo.
  • Emerging Technology and Entrepreneurial Representative: Joshua Scott and Zack Guilbealt.
  • Environmental and Social Responsibility Representative: Esther Kim, Natalie Eberts, John De Friel, Xiang Gao and Yang Yang.
  • Marketing and Public Relations Representative: Christina Yaremko, Ahn Dam, and Aude Chéneau. Chief Justice: Jessica Darmawan. Associate Justice of External Affairs: Chad Lisk, Nathan Strohschein.
  • Associate Justice of Internal Affairs: Pervez Zeeshan Qureshi and Stephanie Baghoumina.

The number of candidates running this year far exceeds last, when many positions ran unopposed. Alva attributes this to increased ASG visibility, publicity and community involvement over last year.

“Plus, Chapman did a great job advertising for the ASG elections.”

Voting will close May 7. After the votes are tallied, incumbent officers will begin job shadowing for their positions.

Alva hopes all students come to the forums to question the candidates.

“They need to come to determine who will best represent them.”