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ASB candidates debate before Tuesday's election

Norman Seawright

The Associated Student Body candidates got in front of a crowd at the Overby Center for Southern Politics and Journalism at the University of Mississippi on Thursday night to debate.  
Candidates running for each position pitched why they should be elected, and the vice presidential and presidential candidates took questions from students.
The ASB budget increased from approximately $70,000 a year ago to $100,000 this year. Both presidential candidates Kegan Coleman and Kimbrely Dandridge have ideas on how the money allotted should be distributed, which has been a concern for students.
“As chief budget officer for the ASB, one thing that bothered me was that there’s not much leeway for the ASB to do a lot with the money, and if I’m elected president, I would like to change our account type to allocate more money to organizations,” said Coleman, a junior public policy leadership major.  
Junior journalism major Dandridge would also like to allot more money to organizations.
“I definitely think the budget is a huge issue,” she said “I would like to give student organizations more money than we have in the past.”
Coleman and Dandridge, who serve on sitting ASB president Taylor McGraw’s cabinet, agree with the president’s recent suggestion that the attorney general, secretary and treasurer should be appointed positions rather than student elected.
The ideas did not stop there. Coleman said he wanted to initiate an iPad program that would allow students to rent notebooks and iPads through the university.  
Dandridge said she would like to extend the printing options by allowing each student 160 copies per semester, as well as subsidizing student season football tickets with a discount for each class.
If elected, both Coleman and Dandridge plan to continue some of McGraw’s initiatives. However, Coleman would like to the green fund supported financially in a different way.
Vice presidential candidates Mary Margaret Johnson, Samuel McKay and Emmalee Rainey would all like to see more transparency between the senate and students.
Junior public policy leadership and political science double major Johnson has had experience in the senate as parliamentarian to current vice president Abby Olivier. Johnson would like to see students more involved in legislation.
“I would like to ask students to come and be part of the senate and to write their own legislation and have the senate debate it, because that’s what we’re elected to do,” she said.
McKay, a junior public policy leadership major, said he would like to involve students more through different forms of media.
“I would like the senate to be televised on the OM network so it would give students the ability to hold senators accountable,” he said. “I would like to have a suggestion box, with students’ names and phone numbers, so I can contact students when that piece of legislation comes up.”
A junior psychology pre-med major, Rainey would like to make sure students know what’s going on in the meetings by implementing town hall meetings or a podcast after meetings.
“I want to make sure students know what’s going on in the meetings, so I want to do a podcast after senate and talk about a recap of what we did in senate and what’s coming up in the future, that way students can hear what happened in the actual meeting,” she said.
ASB elections are set for Tuesday, Feb. 21.
Watch the full video of the debate at www.thedmonline.com.