ASUA nears primary elections, candidates share campaign plans
After months of effort, less than two weeks now remain until the ASUA general elections putting the candidates’ true platforms on display.
Primary elections for ASUA, which will narrow the field of candidates, will take place Feb. 26 and 27, while general elections for officers are on March 5 and 6.
“You can’t anticipate how quickly the weeks go by, how quickly this process has started,” said Anthony Carli, a political science junior and an ASUA student body president candidate. “I mean, we’ve got primaries in a week. It’s really been a trip but it’s really fun.”
Carli, who is also currently the ASUA academic affairs director, added that the “ferocity” of events in recent weeks has surprised him, but that elections are the only way students can make sure to create “positive change” at the university.
“Every Wildcat deserves to be heard. I fundamentally believe in that,” Carli said. “I think that the president is the tool to make sure that the student voice is amplified.”
While Carli believes elections are a tool for students to create positive change, another candidate stressed that students must educate themselves before they vote.
“Too many students have no idea what we do, and too many students don’t tell us what they want done,” said Morgan Abraham, an engineering management junior and presidential candidate. “And that’s kind of where the basis of my campaign comes from: Engaging students.”
Abraham, a member of the ASUA Senate, said several of his platforms center around reaching out and empowering students, in addition to making student government more transparent. To accomplish this, he recently launched a website that allows students to voice their concerns directly to him. If elected, he hopes to release weekly YouTube videos about current ASUA happenings to keep the student body informed.
Dylan Duniho, a creative writing junior and presidential candidate, wants to “redefine” the UA student brand and government by making ASUA less “bubbly” and more connected to campus.
“I’m not running to give students a canned list of simple ideas I want to do,” Duniho said.
Duniho, who currently serves as vice chairman of internal affairs for ASA, said he’s “not going to assume what students want.”
“It’s about engagement and communication,” Duniho said.
Duniho said if elected, he plans to start an office-wide ASUA internship program allowing students to get involved with student government. Furthermore, he wants to start a program called “UA Magnified” that would bring club advocates directly to “appropriate administration” to handle their pressing issues.
A current ASUA officer offered some advice for the presidential candidates as they work to set themselves apart from their opponents.
“Stay true to yourself,” said Krystina Nguyen, a biology senior and current ASUA executive vice president. “If you don’t have the passion for it, it’s not going to carry throughout the entire year if [you] are to be elected.”
Nguyen called her time with ASUA “rewarding.” The executive vice president position currently has no official candidate on the upcoming ballot.
Though there is one official write-in candidate for the primary ballot, according to Nguyen, if no executive vice president is elected, then the senate will call a special election at the end of her term on May 1, or the beginning of the next academic year.
If no candidate is chosen by Sept. 1, then the president will appoint someone, according to ASUA’s constitutional bylaws, Nguyen said.
Nguyen graduates this spring, and if there is a lapse between the end of her term and the start of the next executive vice president’s, it could lead to a rough transition. This would be detrimental to the senate, which is chaired by the executive vice president, and the clubs and organizations around campus, for which the executive vice president serves as chief advocate.
Amanda Lester, a sophomore studying psychology and English, is the lone candidate for ASUA administrative vice president. Lester is currently chief of staff to the administrative vice president, and she said running unopposed is an opportunity to elaborate on her platforms and make herself better understood by voting students.
“I still want to campaign really hard just so that people kind of know me,” Lester said. “Just because I’m unopposed doesn’t mean I can be unknown, and I want people to actually vote for me, not have me as a fallback because it’s only my name on the ballot.”