Next week, students will vote on the peers that will represent them as both executives and legislators in ASUCD. Elections start Feb. 17 at 8 a.m. and last until Feb. 19, when online polls close at 8 a.m.
Elections are conducted with a choice voting system, where voters rank the candidates in order of preference. If a student’s first choice candidate either wins with extra votes or fails to meet a minimum vote standard, that student’s vote goes toward their next choice candidate. All voting is conducted online, on the ASUCD elections website, elections.ucdavis.edu.
The Aggie editorial board interviewed all candidates and our endorsements reflect who we think will be the most qualified.
Presidential endorsement: Jack Zwald and Previn Witana
This year’s executive ticket will essentially determine what kind of government ASUCD will be in the coming years.
Although candidates Sergio Blanco and Vishakha Patel have proved their commitment to student leadership and activism, Jack Zwald and Previn Witana will focus on the necessary internal aspects of ASUCD, such as a lean budget and an organized senate. For that reason, we endorse Zwald and Witana for the executive ticket.
They plan to focus on a number of quantifiable solutions to problems within ASUCD, which will in turn benefit the student body. The two will exercise fiscal responsibility in budget hearings by examining wasteful spending, such as telephone and sprinkler services. They have already made considerable advancements in lowering the minimum progress requirement for students in order to allow these students to work and attend school without the stress of too many units.
These small steps are essential to making a broad change to the ASUCD administration.
Yet the campus cannot do without Blanco’s passion. An official position is not necessary for the leadership he has and will continue to bring. He has remained tirelessly committed to the prioritization of public education and the student struggle within it. His leadership will complement that of Zwald and Witana if he remains as active as he has been.
There are six seats available for senate this quarter, which will fill out the 12-member senate. We’ve ranked the top six out of the 14 candidates.
No. 1 Rudy Ornelas: Ornelas is the most senate-savvy and practical candidate of this election. His experience as an ASUCD court justice has helped him understand the rules that will keep the senate in prime working order. He is the only candidate who has presented an actual solution to the decrease in printing pages by seeking sponsorship from Xerox. He has already made progress in establishing gender-neutral restrooms, proving that he will commit to a range of student interests.
No. 2 Adam Thongsavat: Thongsavat has tapped into innovative potential sources for revenue in ASUCD, such as Picnic Day. His idea to hold a concert the night before Picnic Day is an idea we were surprised no one had thought of before.
Thongsavat’s Smart Party Initiative and plan to encourage downtown businesses to stay open late acknowledges the college experience and demonstrates Thongsavat’s passionate drive to provide this. He has been active in ASUCD and will provide optimism and balance at the senate table.
No. 3 David Turkell: Turkell’s current connections with state legislators assure us that he will actually advocate, and bring students with him. He plans to arrange carpools to the capitol and set up dialogue with various representatives and we hope to see this happen. He will bring a unique quality to the senate table both in his focus on state advocacy and his cultural backgrounds.
As both a Latino and member of a fraternity, he could serve as a liaison between underrepresented and Greek communities.
No. 4 Ozzy Arce: As an active and passionate member of ASUCD since his first year, Arce has learned the ropes of the government and the kinds of goals to aim for. He has worked on the External Affairs Commission and has been a peer advisor for his major. He understands how to incorporate the City of Davis into student life, such as bringing more sponsorship to student services and events. He has learned from current Vice President Chris Dietrich to make goals, but if they cannot be reached, to begin new projects. This quality will greatly benefit students.
No. 5 Alison Tanner: Tanner’s success with her recent pieces of legislation not only demonstrate her potential productivity as a senator, but also her philosophy when it comes to writing legislation for underrepresented communities. She will serve those who typically receive the least help on campus – regardless of their numbers – as she did with her resolutions targeted toward pregnant students and breastfeeding women on campus.
Tanner will also serve as a powerful voice in leading student activism. She has already shown committed passion to the struggles of public education funding, and both the senate and the students she serves will be able to count on her.
No. 6 Subhan Cheema: Cheema hopes to start an ASUCD government blog, which would open up ASUCD to many more students. He intends to plan more dialogues with administrators that students can attend, as many students feel disconnected with the current administration. His ideas seek to ease the current frustrations of students. If he follows through with these ideas, students will assuredly recognize a job well done by their government.