USGD hosts an elections forum for inquiring student voters

With the Undergraduate Student Government Downtown 2016 elections less than a week away, USGD held an election forum so that students could get to know the candidates and better understand policies and plans that potential candidates have.

The event began with statements from the two potential Barrett senators, Case Smith and Ariana Kurtz. With two elected senators per college, Smith and Kurtz are currently running unopposed.

Regarding their main platform, Smith emphasized transparency and communication.

“Communication is currently something that ASU and USGD, I think, lacking in,” Smith said. “I also want to continue to fight for greater transparency in the USGD community as well as ASU and the Barrett community.”

Kurtz highlighted the importance of USGD communication with students.

“As senator, I want to consistently get feedback from students and continue engaging faculty and students together,” she said. “I want to bring communication between USGD and Barrett together.”

The two candidates went on to point out issues including making honors courses more available to downtown students.

Following the Barrett candidates was Cronkite, with three candidates looking for the single senator positions.

Junior Judson Tomaiko’s main points revolved around funding.

“I’ve unfortunately watched ASU become a lot more money hungry,” he said. “Right now, I’m working with investigative reporters and editors to get a full breakdown of everything ASU spends its money on. I am searching to cut costs to reallocate those funds to make the Cronkite School even better.”

While Tomaiko is focused on reallocating funds, Freshman candidate Rilee Robinson said that a main project she would oversee as a senator would be making software more available to Cronkite students.

“Our technology fee went up $250, and I want to make sure this money isn’t just going to broadcast students,” she said. “So I want more transparency about where that’s going and maybe using some of that to get Adobe Cloud on personal computers.”

Candidate Bryce Newbury said he wants to get student organizations better informed on USGD and improving the organizations.

“My biggest goal would be to keep making those student organizations relevant to students past their freshman year but aware of USGD resources,” he said. “Right now USGD has a lot of money that can be used, but a lot of organizations don’t request that. Making those organizations aware is important to make them better.”

The executive ticket, comprised of potential vice presidents of policy and service Jimmy Arwood and Ernesto Hernandez, respectively, and potential president Jackson Dangremond, concluded the forum. They addressed their biggest points to the students, such as affordable tuition and dealing with government.

“The reason I’m running is because this position is for the person who creates the strategy for dealing with local government and state government,” Arwood said. “Students need to be informed on why their tuition is the way it is, and this doesn’t have to be a partisan or political issue, but students need to know what’s going on with their money and how it’s being allocated.”

Hernandez said his main points of focus would be better student organization representation along with education and outreach to student services.

The forum ended with a speech from Dangermond who said the campaign’s platform, the power of you, was about letting students know everyone can be agents of change. He concluded the forum with a statement highlighting change.

“I ask you to please join us,” he said. “Be an agent of change and discover the power of you.”

Editor's note: Jimmy Arwood is a columnist for The State Press  he was not involved in the reporting, editing or production of this article. 

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