Harper/Klute win ASPSU election
ASPSU election results were announced to a room full of anxious ASPSU candidates Friday evening. The elections committee saved the presidential candidate results for last, letting current President and Vice President Amara Marino and Joe Johnson announce the winners, Christy Harper and Ryan Klute.
Harper and Klute said they felt ecstatic and amazed with their win, as well as the voter turnout at this year’s election.
“What I’m most amazed about is the voter turnout again,” said Klute. “That’s actually incredible and I think that that was our biggest goal, getting people out to vote.”
In this election 1,999 students voted, compared to last year’s 1,216.
“We really thought this second election would have just discouraged so many people and we didn’t expect to see nearly as many, and that’s amazing, because we’ve obviously made an impact for the students here. And our voter turnout was just as good. It’s higher than it’s been in at least three years,” said Harper.
“Two thousand people out of 25,000 people isn’t great, but it’s a good start. It’s a good place to build from for all the people coming after us,” said Klute. “Hopefully people can start looking at this number and start building up from that and hold us to the next standard and the next standard and keep building up from that. And that’s really amazing.”
Justin Myers, who was running for ASPSU presidency, didn’t voice too much disappointment over his loss.
“I’m really, really happy,” he said. “I posted the same numbers as I did in the first election, which I was worried about. We got over 400 votes; I think that’s really impressive – this is the closest three party race that’s ever happened. Last year the third party candidate got less than 100 votes. To get 400 votes against such big contenders, to be a part of an election that got 1,999 votes, and to pull down at least a quarter of those, that’s massive and I’m really pleased.”
Myers said he now plans to apply for a position as university affairs director.
Maude Bowman, who was running for vice president, said she was disappointed with the presidential candidate results. Bowman and her running mate, Pollyanne Birge, lost the election by just 45 votes, which was a huge stride forward considering they lost by over 200 votes in the botched election. Bowman feels more could have been said, despite gathering more votes this time around.
“I think more along the lines that I’m disappointed that we didn’t make more of the facts known about what was going on,” she said.
Bowman referred to the approval of the rec center as an example. She wishes there had been more campaigning about it. “I think that a lot of students didn’t think to vote on it. They weren’t very aware and informed about both sides of the issue,” she said.
She added, “There wasn’t any objective information out there that was like, ‘this is what’s going to happen with the rec center; here are the pros and here are the cons.’ It was always pro.”
However, Bowman said she is excited about several individuals on senate, such as Jesus Acosta, Erin Devaney, and Kayla Goldfarb.
“I think next year’s going to be cool because those guys are going to really make things happen,” she said.
Kayla Goldfarb, who won positions as an at large senator and SFC member, said she’s very excited for next year, though she wishes Polly and Maude had won.
Still, she says she’s happy that so many members of the progressive slate got into the senate and the SFC.
“You can expect a different side from what has been in the past,” says Goldfarb, “I work for Students for Unity so I’m definitely interested in making things more progressive around here, making funds more accessible to student groups on campus, more activist student groups and multicultural student groups.”
Continuing SFC Chair Tracy Earll, who allocates funds for student groups, said, “with $7.6 million for next year, the committee needs a strong chair that’s willing to stand up to the administration when they try and tax student fees to make sure the process is fair for all student groups. There’s over 80 programs next year and we’ve got to make sure that all of those groups have equal access to the funds.”
Earll says that she’s happy with the new SFC committee members.
“When I started on the committee it was always unanimous votes, and that’s not the way it should be. There should be some differing opinions and there should be some true conversation and true discussion about the request and so I’m glad to see that there will be some divergent viewpoints on the committee because that’s exactly what we need.”
What else is needed, says Harper, is for students to know ASPSU.
Harper says she and Klute will begin working immediately and effectively on the issues that people have been talking to them about. One of those issues, she says, is that people want to know ASPSU.
“We’re going to try really hard to put our efforts out their for people to see and work hard to educate the students and work hard to reach out to students and to continue asking them how we’re doing and what they think and getting their opinions and trying to continue to advocate for them,” said Harper.
Harper and Klute will begin their positions as president and vice president on May 1.