Returning USGW candidates challenged by newcomers in debate

Political science sophomore Zeke Reed, left, and political science junior Luke Webster, right, face off in the Undergraduate Student Government West presidential debate Wednesday night. (Photo by Shelby Bernstein)

Undergraduate Student Government West’s two executive tickets used Wednesday’s debate to establish campaign rhetoric.

 

Presidents

Neither USGW presidential candidate and political science junior Luke Webster nor his running mates have prior experience in student government, but Webster said their lack of experience will help, not hinder them.

“If you see an incumbent up here explaining how he’ll fix problems, the question is why hasn’t he done it already,” Webster said.

Webster’s running mates are social and behavioral science junior Isaiah Grissum and political science senior Julio Valadez.

Each member of the other ticket has previously served in USGW. Presidential candidate and political science sophomore Zeke Reed is the outgoing vice president of policy, political science sophomore Aisling Serki is the secretary and psychology junior Daniella Lara is a senator.

Reed said his ticket brought both experience and a mixture of different student demographics. Reed, a father of two, is a nontraditional student, Serki is an out-of-state student and Lara is a transfer student.

“With this eclectic group of people, we can speak to not everybody, but a lot of people,” Reed said. “And then we’ll continually be talking with other students to get their voices out there, too.”

Both presidential candidates stressed the importance of listening to and representing West campus students and working with other campuses, administration and the Arizona Board of Regents.

Reed said he has worked as vice president of policy to promote collaboration by visiting 85 different classes throughout the year to talk to students about USGW and hear concerns.

These comments drew criticism from Webster, who said it was wrong to boast about performing job requirements.

“I’m not for giving people a cookie for things they’re supposed to be doing anyway,” he said.

 

Vice President of Policy

Serki and Valadez took different approaches to their potential future role.

Serki said a key action would be to help the West campus students become politically aware.

Although she is registered to vote in California, Serki said she has become well versed in Arizona politics during her two years at ASU.

She said she wants to bring a polling station to the West campus to enable student voting this November and represent the campus to the legislature.

“If I’m not representing the voices of students, there’s no point,” Serki said.

Valadez said it was crucial to keep students informed about legislative and administrative actions.

He said he would reach out to students who, like him, were not involved in campus politics.

“My plan is to get that lone wolf educated,” he said.

 

Vice President of Services

Lara and Grissum also saw their potential offices in a different way.

Lara said she hoped to work more with the Residence Hall Association, the Programming and Activities Board and other student organizations.

She said she wanted to bring pep rallies with athletes, cheerleaders and Sparky to the West campus to build spirit among students.

Grissum said Lara had the opportunity to begin some of these initiatives this past year but hasn’t followed through.

He said he wants to set example for the West campus students.

“I will be an example of spirit, pride and tradition,” Grissum said.

Lara said the members of her ticket would make themselves more accessible to students by hosting forums for their constituents and sending out frequent emails.

“I don’t see us as just a student body,” Lara said. “It’s a community.”

Elections for each undergraduate student government and the Graduate and Professional Student Association will be held through myASU April 10 and 11.

 

Reach the reporter at julia.shumway@asu.edu

 

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