Prospective senators: read before you run

CAITLYN SAMPLEY / AGGIE

Expectations of ASUCD Senate candidates

As ASUCD election season gets underway and prospective senators begin campaigning, the Editorial Board feels that it’s important that candidates understand what is expected of them.

First and foremost, Senate candidates should demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of what ASUCD is and what their role in it would entail. In previous years, some candidates showed little to no understanding of the role that Senate plays in governing the campus, could not articulate the responsibilities of a senator and struggled to name even one ASUCD unit. Lacking basic knowledge of the job indicates either poor planning, apathy or sheer arrogance, none of which are qualities we want to see in our elected representatives.

Candidates have frequently struggled with the ASUCD budget, a worrying trend when one considers the millions of dollars that these candidates hope to control. We expect candidates to not only know what ASUCD’s annual operating budget is but also where the money comes from, how it’s spent, who it’s spent by and who makes those decisions. Candidates who cannot show that they will be informed and thoughtful custodians of student money should not expect student votes or support.

Candidates must demonstrate that they have good policies, not just good politics. They should not only have concrete, actionable ideas to attack the problems facing the campus and community but should know how to execute such ideas. We expect that candidates understand how to author and introduce legislation. We likewise expect senators to actually pass legislation to get things done — endless resolutions and statements aren’t replacements for legislation.

It’s become almost a cliché to say that ASUCD is toxic, but given the bickering, infighting, immaturity and pettiness that have plagued ASUCD for some time now, senators must expect to be held to a high standard of behavior. They should be ready to work, not engage in antics that make the Senate table look juvenile. Candidates should have attended Senate meetings to see how they’re run and should have a working knowledge of Robert’s Rules of Order. Senate meetings shouldn’t devolve into chaos because elected representatives don’t know the basic points of parliamentary procedure.

Finally, Senate is a body of elected representatives and, as such, we expect Senate candidates to be firmly committed to representing the needs and wishes of the student body. Candidates who run on a single-issue platform or with the goal of accomplishing a pet project are generally unsuccessful, as are candidates who commit to no issues at all in a misguided effort to please all of the people all of the time.

The strongest candidates will have a comprehensive platform of policies that will materially improve the lives of their constituents, a strong working knowledge of Senate procedures and a firm commitment to the responsibilities of elected office. Multiple incomplete terms have shown that being an ASUCD senator is not an easy undertaking and not a responsibility that should be taken lightly. It is the Editorial Board’s sincere hope that the coming election presents a pool of strong, qualified candidates.

Written by: The Editorial Board