In elections today, the politicians running want to create distance from Washington and convince the electorate they are the ‘outsider’ that will change government.
But when it comes to our Student Government Association elections, it is better for a candidate to have as much experience than the other candidates and be considered the ‘insider’ in the race.
The student body runs the risk of voting in someone unaware of what needs to be fixed inside SGA, while the person with little experience might also slow down any momentum with projects that were headed into the finals stages of completion during the previous administration.
The SGA presidential race is set for Feb. 27. James Schubert, chairman of the Elections Oversight Committee, announced the SGA president candidates this past weekend.
Josh Grant, former co-chair of R.E.A.C.H. and former representative for College Republicans; Mike Keller, a member of the SGA Finance Board; Katie Palmer, chair of the Academic Affairs Committee in the Council on Presidential Affairs; and Kelsa Reynolds, SGA Vice President of Operations are the four candidates.
All four candidates are bringing distinct perspectives and experiences into the presidential race.
Reynolds provides an analysis of SGA through her time serving on the executive committee while Palmer and Keller currently each serve on branches of SGA.
Grant, though not holding a position currently, offers opinions from the time served in R.E.A.C.H.
Students on campus should elect someone who has more experience than the other contenders. It is very important, especially when dealing with projects that take time to organize and implement by the SGA executive committee that the student body votes for someone that understands and knows what is going on.
Former president Christopher Ring said, “I believe SGA board experience is most important going into being SGA President.
“I think you have a better understanding of the organization’s infrastructure, the way in which money is handled, and the time required of the position.”
The president and the vice presidents have maybe six months to implement their ideas on campus. Ring makes a great point referencing the large budget SGA is responsible for. And, we would not want to see large portions of the SGA budget spent on a decision that was quickly made without sufficient experience and prior knowledge.
But I know there are others who do not share my outlook. Students want to see SGA go in a completely different direction, and would enjoy supporting a candidate that aligns with those views.
There is nothing wrong with a student that has never been to SGA assembly or served on a committee to quickly learn the procedures and then outline his or her vision for the next year.
While Kyle Inskeep, former vice president of R.E.A.C.H., said it is important for candidates to have prior experience, he said, “I think it is very possible that someone with little or no experience in SGA could do a great job as SGA President, but they would need to surround themselves with a great executive team and be prepared to overcome various obstacles and challenges that they could not have foreseen.”
I ultimately believe that it is better for SGA to have a president that knows what is going on and can continue the dialogue with administrators and faculty rather than having to start anew.
Kasper is the former chair of the Council on Presidential Affairs.