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Associated Student Body elections a win-win situation

 

After attending the Associated Student Body Debate, I can confidently say that no matter which candidates come out victorious, the students of the University of Mississippi will have qualified, dedicated and diligent representation.

Both the judicial chair and attorney general candidates are unopposed. Courtney Pearson, current judicial chair, and Matthew Kiefer, candidate for attorney general, have the qualifications and commitment to represent the student body skillfully in their positions. 

Treasurer candidate Rebecca Ruleman wants to make the budget and budgeting process more open to students by making the budget available on the ASB website. Garner Reesby, also a candidate for treasurer, focused more on his qualifications. While he has worked with current treasurer John James and has helped in the budgeting process, Reesby did not express what improvements he would like to make. I feel there is always room for improvement, however, Reesby does not seem to have that same opinion regarding the ASB budget. I feel Ruleman would best serve the interests of the student body as ASB treasurer by working to improve the budget process and making the process more inclusive to students. 

ASB secretary candidates Emily Rast and David Horton both have wonderful ideas and drive to be secretary. While Horton wants to increase community involvement in the ASB and be an advocate for students, Rast wants to be as accessible to students as possible. She has offered to extend her office hours and give out her contact information to ensure that students would be able to reach her. Rast certainly seems the most interested in making the secretary’s office more transparent and open to students.

Mary Margaret Johnson, Samuel McKay and Emmalee Rainey are all vying for vice president. They all want to work to make the senate more student-friendly and open to suggestion; every candidate mentioned some way of allowing students to have a greater voice in the senate. In the debate, Rainey made sure to mention that she was not a public policy leadership major. It is important for students to understand his or her academic affiliation, but a candidate who alienates one group of students is not a candidate I want. I think both Johnson and McKay have impeccable qualifications and effective ideas; this election will be a close one to watch.

Both Kegan Coleman and Kimbrely Dandridge, candidates for ASB president, offered ideas to benefit students. Dandridge talked about allowing each student 160 free copies per semester. She did not outline cost predictions but did mention that she had been in touch with Committee of Student Affairs. Coleman proposed iPad rentals, a cheaper alternative to expensive textbooks. LSU has implemented this, and it is expected to cost around $10,000. Coleman has met with the IT department and the chancellor to discuss implementing this idea. Both candidates have exciting and innovative ideas and solutions to improve ASB and involve students more. However, Dandridge said she would keep every campaign promise, which includes discounted football tickets for students. While I commend her thoughtfulness, I do not think it is smart for Dandridge to promise this when she has been unable to meet with the chief decision-maker of the athletics department – the new athletic director – who has yet to be hired. I feel Coleman would be better suited to serve as our next ASB president. He has proven he will think outside of the box to come up with smart, efficient solutions and ideas. Innovate ideas are highly important in our current environment when funding to this university is being cut every year.

As I said before, the students of this university will come out on top, no matter what. Be sure to read each candidate’s platforms and be informed, and don’t forget to vote Tuesday via MyOleMiss. 

 

Adam Blackwell is a sophomore public policy leadership major from Natchez. Follow him on Twitter @AdamBlackwell1.