As a recent addition to the Arizona Daily Wildcat Opinions Board, I had the privilege of interviewing all 24 ASUA candidates in the past two days. It was an exhausting but memorable experience, and I felt very well-informed before casting my vote this morning. All voters would benefit from a similar experience, but it’s hardly possible with so many candidates, so I’m providing my own personal ASUA endorsements. I enjoyed contributing to the Wildcat endorsements in today’s paper, but some of my favorite candidates went unmentioned, and I’ll do my best to do them justice here.
Where the Wildcat and I Were in Perfect Agreement
There were some unexpected candidates this year, and the funny Nick Jones was one of them. More than anything else, I felt he was incredibly real and honest, unlike some of the sickeningly perfect and sycophantic candidates of the past and present. “I never really liked ASUA,” the sophomore majoring in History told the Editorial Board on Sunday. Unlike most of the unhappy student population, Jones has plans to re-shape ASUA instead of complaining about it. He has attended ASUA Senate meetings, and it shows in the confident, educated way he speaks. Self described as “socially awkward,” it’s safe to say Jones will bring a humorous, refreshing new pace to ASUA, and he is in no risk of falling into the ASUA sheep mentality. Jones is a free thinker, as shown when he was the only person to sign the Arizona Desert Lamp pledge against all student fees. He is strong-minded and different, and most of all, he is smart enough to get the job done.
She may be a freshman, but Weingartner is an old soul. Instead of bombarding Wildcat employees with unreal enthusiasm and a booming voice, Miss Weingartner was collected as she articulately explained her unique plans for ASUA Senate and the UA as a whole. In addition to her Honors College Ambassadors, Honors College, and Arizona Model United Nations memberships, she is president of Posada San Pedro Solar Powered, which is “the only organization on campus working to install solar paneling on residence halls.” Katherine told us that she would fight for dorm solar panels regardless of election results, and such dedication to bettering the UA community tells me that Katherine isn’t in this for an ego boost. She prioritizes the UA over her senatorial success, and all senators should display such passion.
I had a huge crush on Ruiz after the twenty minute interview, and so did all the other Editorial members. In all seriousness, Ruiz exemplifies everything an ASUA senator should be. He mentioned the dissatisfaction with ASUA among ethnic minorities on campus, and like Jones, Ruiz is not just going to complain that all ASUA members are white. Ruiz is a pro-active member of the UA community and he would be a spectacular senator next year. He has a broad range of activities under his belt. The Agri-Business junior is president of his multi-cultural fraternity, involved with Men Against Violence, and he alluded to A-Town as one of his most memorable UA experiences. In addition to spreading knowledge of social justice issues, Ruiz wants to support the Women’s Resource Center by getting a paid director. On top of everything else, he’s hilarious, personable, and sincere from my observations. Diversity is important to ASUA, and Ruiz is an exceptional diverse candidate that deserves to be elected.
Leo’s interview could have easily gotten off to a very bad start. He ran into the Editorial office having just taken a difficult Chemistry midterm. An Editorial Board member light-heartedly poked fun at Leo’s lack of fancy attire, but this had no effect on Leo’s incredible interview. If I hadn’t asked, I would have never guessed that the bubbly pre-physiology 19-year-old only slept two hours the night before. His work ethic and attitude is crucial for all senators, and besides his personality, he understands the in’s and out’s of ASUA. Yamaguchi was well-researched, charming, realistic, and enthusiastic about ASUA. He knew his stuff, but didn’t make unfeasable promises. At the end of the interview, we kept Yamaguchi around to chat because he was smart, interesting, and captivating. He belongs in the ASUA senate.
Like most others I’m endorsing, Quillin is not a typical ASUA senatorial candidate. He is not a pompous, power hungry frat boy type, but a well-read English and Philosophy major with a strong volunteer background at Ben’s Bells on University Blvd. He has a friendly, relatable confidence, and he was honest about what kind of changes he wanted to see in ASUA. Quillin expressed concern in lack of ASUA transparency, and he would like UA students to easily get hold of ASUA related information. The sharp, genuine, and focused candidate definitely had my vote this morning.
Where the Wildcat and I Were at Odds
This candidate is one of my close friends, and while he did not seem as well-researched as some of the other candidates, he expressed the strongest enthusiasm for the UA campus and this particular position. The Eagle Scout and Pride of Arizona member wants to improve freshmen representation and increase the number of Freshman Class Council members. Elyachar scripted a clear, concise, long proposal which explained his plans, and he hopes to represent all types of students on campus. I personally ran around with Aaron on campus, and we approached hundreds of students with information on his campaign. I witnessed Aaron swing dance with students, sing songs, and dance. He’s easily one of the sweetest, most kind-hearted candidates, and he is incredibly driven to make changes on campus. For being a fun, yet quietly serious senator, Elyachar got my vote, and from the words of Elyachar himself, “Vote Elyachar, I’ll take you far. Let’s keep that funky beat rollin!”
The Campus Coalition for Change really wants Klenke to get elected, even though he had a small voter turnout rate in the primaries. Klenke himself is an outgoing, precise, and confident member of the Freshman Class Council. He participated in UA Votes 2008, and survived a life-threatening accident that left him unable to stay as involved as he would have liked on the UA campus last semester. Klenke expressed decisiveness and certainty with his ideas, one of which includes getting a paid director for the Women’s Resource Center. He isn’t a fan of creating “monster colleges,” for example, the new College of Letters and Science. He may not have been selected by the Wildcat, but Klenke seemed very detailed and sure of his plans for ASUA senate, so if elected, he will not lose stamina or express passivity.
I liked almost all of the candidates, but these seven were very memorable, and I’ve spoken to most of these numerous times in a different setting. There will be ten elected senators, and I know the UA campus would be a better place if my endorsed candidates were to be elected.