Undergraduate Student Government Downtown hopefuls debate student issues
Sophomore and current Cronkite Sen. Alexis Kramer and sophomore and current USGD President Frank Smith III discuss their platforms during the 2014 Elections Debate held in ASU Downtown’s Student Center on March 27.
(Photo by Becca Smouse)
Undergraduate Student Government Downtown presidential candidate Alexis Kramer accused the incumbent USGD president Frank Smith III of not working well with other senators Wednesday at the Downtown campus.
Kramer's running mates are recreation management sophomore Ryan Boyd and journalism sophomore Windsor Smith.
Frank Smith's ticket includes health sciences junior Sally Lopez and social work freshman Corina Tapscott.
Smith opened up the debate talking about the accomplishments he’s made as president, such as implementing weekend shuttles for next year, live-tweeting USG meetings and increasing transparency.
“I did it once (and) I’ll do it again,” he said.
He went on to say that he wanted to improve some of the flaws within the internship program by talking to students and hearing their ideas.
Kramer responded by talking about how her three years of involvement in USG reflect her passion and ability. She also pointed out that five of the seven senators supported her.
Smith rebutted Kramer saying there were nine senators, not seven. It was later confirmed by public policy senior Daiyaan Colbert that there are in fact only seven senators.
Kramer then criticized Smith for what happened with the athletic fee bill and how senators were only given a revised version of the bill after it had been passed.
“That wasn’t fair for constituents,” she said, “It takes a team to get that done.”
Smith contradicted Kramer’s statement saying he had given senators the option to have more time to deliberate. He also attacked Kramer for not even taking a stance on the bill.
“That’s the worst decision you can make as a senator,” he said. “Either you’re for it or against it.”
When asked how he would bring more improvements to the downtown community, Smith said he had already brought local businesses to the downtown community.
“There are so many jewels that the people don’t know about here,” he said. “If it wasn’t for the local community, ASU downtown wouldn’t be here.”
Kramer said she agreed with Smith about establishing those connections with local business.
When asked about how she would make USG meetings more transparent, she said she would start implementing open door meetings.
“No meeting should have closed doors,” she said. “We are representing the students."
Kramer said she also wants to establish a C-SPAN network.
“I want all documents to be available online and hear constituent opinions,” she said. “More transparency shouldn’t be a problem."
Smith said meetings were already open and any student can walk into any meeting at any time.
Junior and current USGD Sen. Sally Lopez and Freshman Ryan Boyd, both running for Vice President of Public Policy, answered questions during the 2014 Elections Debate held in ASU Downtown’s Student Center on March 27. (Photo by Becca Smouse)
“I want students to know elected officials are here for them,” he said.
Smith said he has already increased student involvement in USG and that the USGD Facebook page likes had already increased by approximately 50 percent since he has been in office.
Audience members criticized Smith for his failure to cooperate with senators and his lack of communication toward them.
Smith said he wanted to work closely with the Senate.
“I want to ask them, ‘How can I help you?’” he said. “But they have to reach out to me. I can’t read their minds.”
Kramer responded to Smith sarcastically.
“Please let me know when you’d love to have one of those one-on-one meetings,” she said.
When the debate ended, many of the audience members, including Tyandrah Ashley, felt that Kramer had won the debate.
“I think Kramer was more successful,” Ashley said. “I like how her stance was more community-based and how she has more USG experience since she was once an intern.”
Smith said he wished the debate had gone a little bit better.
“I did get to tie in some of my answers on what I wanted to do, but what I really didn’t get to mention was the Student Government Scholarship, because there were some misconceptions about that,” he said.
The scholarship has been criticized for being ridiculous as only being funded through T-shirt sales.
“Throughout the campaign trail we’ve definitely shaped it differently and it won’t just be through T-shirt sales," he said. "We are also working with the bookstore to help fund it.”
The debates also gave senatorial candidates a chance to share their plans for Downtown constituents.
Representing the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication are journalism freshmen Zack Bunting and Kelsey Hess.
Representing The College of Public Programs is nonprofit leadership and management freshman Elizabeth Gray and representing the School of Nursing and Health Promotion is exercise and wellness sophomore Anthony Calderon.
Reach the reporter at email@example.com or follow her on twitter @kelciegrega