2019 ASUCD Winter Elections: Meet the candidates

2019 ASUCD Winter Elections: Meet the candidates

Photo Credits: AGGIE STUDIOS / COURTESY

Two executive tickets, 14 senatorial candidates running this quarter

The following candidates are running in ASUCD’s 2019 Winter Elections for elected official positions in student government. Two senatorial candidates were not interviewed — one plans to drop out of the race and the other did not respond to interview requests. There are two executive tickets from the slates BASED and Unite! and every Senate candidate is running with either of these two slates.

In addition to the candidates running for elected office, the Unitrans Undergraduate Fee Referendum will also appear on the ballot. Students will have the opportunity to vote on whether or not to increase the quarterly fee they pay to fund Unitrans, which is facing a mounting budget deficit and might be forced to cut services if the referendum is unsuccessful.

Elections will take place from Feb. 19 to 22.

Alisha Hacker & Sydney Hack — Unite!

Second-year political science — public service major Alisha Hacker, a current ASUCD senator who has served as pro tempore for two quarters, and third-year political science — public service major Sydney Hack, who has previously served as a Senate staffer, vice chair of the Judicial Council and, most recently, an interim senator, are running as the Unite! slate’s executive ticket as president and vice president, respectively.

Hacker and Hack’s platforms are focused on addressing students’ basic needs by improving transportation to and from campus, working with the city to increase affordable housing options and expanding what The Pantry provides in terms of basic needs by stocking feminine hygiene products and school supplies.

“The two of us would be ready to hit the ground running the first day of office,” Hacker said.

Justin Hurst & Shreya Deshpande — BASED

Justin Hurst, a fourth-year evolution and international relations double major, and Shreya Deshpande, a third-year cognitive science and sociology double major, are running as the BASED slate’s executive ticket as president and vice president, respectively. Hurst is the chair of the Academic Affairs Commission and Deshpande as the former chief of staff for a senator and is currently a member of the Ethnic and Cultural Affairs Commission Chair. Their main objectives if elected include implementing both structural and priority changes within ASUCD.

Hurst and Deshpande both feel that the opinions of students are underrepresented in student government, particularly those of minority groups. They would like to implement a culture change within ASUCD by working more with student communities instead of against them.

“Students really are the backbone of this school,” Deshpande said. “We need to be there, giving them the platform to say what it is they believe in. That’s what we’re here to try and change.”

Rebecca Gonzalez

Running on the BASED slate, Rebecca Gonzalez is a fourth-year international relations major. Her platforms include reliable and accessible transportation to and from campus, transparency in UC Davis administration and wellbeing of students. She supports the Unitrans fee referendum and expressed interest in adopting either Unitrans or The Pantry.

As a former intern at the California State Capitol, Gonzalez said she has a “passion for public service.” In this position, she advocated for more representation of women and people of color in ASUCD and a culture of respect and communication on the table. Gonzalez said she is not active in many spheres on campus, but highlighted her capitol internship and time she spends off campus working on her family ranch. As a senior, Gonzalez would have to resign if she were to graduate before her term ends — she said via email that she will work to achieve her platforms “in the time frame I am given.”

Anna Estrada

Third-year sociology and Chicana/Chicano Studies double major Anna Estrada is running with the BASED slate on three platforms focused on promoting mental wellness, destigmatizing the terms “transfer student” and “first-generation” and combatting discrimination on campus.

If elected, Estrada has plans to work alongside the Mental Health Initiative to create a designated mental wellness room where students can go to decompress and also hopes to collaborate with the Ethnic and Cultural Affairs Commission and the Academic Affairs Commission to support transfer and first-generation students more.

Estrada, involved on campus in a number of ways including with La Raza Pre-Law Student Association, the Latina interest sorority Sigma Omega Nu, the Youth Empowerment Program and Scholars Promoting Education Awareness and Knowledge, is running for Senate because she thinks the Chicanx/Latinx community needs a representative. She hopes to “ensure there’s justice across every community and space.”

Victoria Choi

Second-year English major Victoria Choi is running on the Unite! slate with three major platforms: increasing ASUCD outreach efforts to the greater student body, increasing awareness and resources for philanthropic programs and supporting registered student organizations.

Choi has both internal and external experience working with ASUCD. She worked as a staffer for former Senator Jake Sedgley and is the Student Organization Fair and Special Events Director of Picnic Day this year, previously serving as assistant director.

By utilizing the ways students interact with ASUCD on an everyday basis — at the CoHo, Bike Barn and on Unitrans buses — Choi hopes to establish a more positive image for the association. Working to establish herself as a moderate candidate, Choi also hopes to establish greater collaboration on the table and move away from the toxicity and divisiveness seen in the past.

Justin Weiner

Justin Weiner is a second-year neurobiology-physiology-behavior major running on the Unite! slate with a focus on student health. With the majority of candidates coming from social science backgrounds, Weiner hopes to apply both his STEM perspective and his specialized knowledge as an emergency medical technician when advocating for student health.

One of Weiner’s platform goals includes getting Tipsy Taxi drivers first-aid certified. As an EMT, Weiner regularly deals with intoxicated individuals and knows Tipsy Taxi drivers handle high-risk populations. While current procedure requires that drivers call an ambulance in the event of injury or over-intoxication, Weiner believes first-aid training could help save lives.

Additionally, Weiner wants to create a drug safety course and teach students about drug overdose and over-intoxication. Weiner hopes to tackle the issues associated with drug use by creating a program to educate students to recognize signs of over-intoxication requiring medical attention.

George Liao

George Liao is a fourth-year English major running on the Unite! slate. His three platforms focus on addressing food insecurity on campus, advocating for students with disabilities and improving the college experience for transfer and reentry students.

Liao is a re-entry student and sees himself as a, “very different kind of candidate.” Liao wants to keep the students of UC Davis at the heart of his campaign and focus on his ability to serve the student community.

While Liao does not have experience working directly with ASUCD, he previously worked as a campus news writer for The California Aggie for the past year. As a writer, Liao had a great deal of experience covering Senate meetings and writing about both internal and external issues facing the association.

Karolina Rodriguez

Karolina Rodriguez is a first-year political science and Chicana/Chicano studies double major running on the BASED slate. She has three platforms based on advocacy: advocating for marginalized communities, advocating for student health and wellness and advocating for transparency. Already active in the Student Resource and Retention Center, Rodriguez said that she is exposed to the problems students of various backgrounds face. On her second platform, she specifically mentioned the negative feelings that a large police presence can have on certain communities on campus. Finally, she wants ASUCD to be transparent and work for students, saying she sees the Senate as “an outlet for [students] to be heard.”

Rodriguez’s other campus involvements include being a member in MEChA, the Chi Omega sorority, and United Students Against Sweatshops.

Jamila Alani

Fourth-year international relations major Jamila Alani is running on the BASED slate in the hopes of creating a more inclusive environment within UC Davis. Her platforms include increasing support for first-generation college students and developing workshops for campus leaders to help them express their opinions.

Alani is a participant in several campus organizations, which she feels has prepared her for the role of senator. She is the director of inclusion and diversity and treasurer for the American Association of University Women, a United Nations Millennium Fellow at the UC Davis cohort, a member of Davis Women in Business and a member of the student steering committee for the Global Education For All initiative.

As a first-generation college student, she says that navigating the college system was difficult both academically and emotionally. If elected, she plans to work with the First Generation Initiative and the undergraduate research center to find an effective support solution for these students.  

Perla Ornelas

Perla Ornelas is a third-year political science major running with the BASED slate. Ornelas also identifies as a member of the Chicanx/Latinx community. Her platforms include improving safety on campus, improving transparency between ASUCD and the student body and bringing a Chicanx/Latinx perspective to Senate.

Although she is new to the world of student government, Ornelas has been learning about the process through different workshops and commission meetings. She wants to implement a series of free self-defense workshops and distribute pepper spray to the student body.

“Davis is now officially a Hispanic Serving Institute, and to not have someone on ASUCD is crazy to me,” Ornelas said. “We’re such a big part of the student body, and there’s no one representing or translating our thoughts and opinions [currently].”

Arjan Singh Heer

Arjan Singh Heer, a third-year managerial economics is running on the Unite! slate with three major platforms focused food security, connecting with students through the association and financial accountability. Singh hopes to work with The Pantry and the Yolo Food Bank to expand the food products currently offered to students who are food insecure.

On campus, Singh is the vice president of the Sikh Cultural Association, a brother in the fraternity Alpha Gamma Rho and a TA for applied biotechnology classes. Singh wants students to know he is goal-oriented and pragmatic.

Andre Spinoglio

Andre Spinoglio is a third-year managerial economic major running on the Unite! slate. Spinoglio currently serves as ASUCD Business and Finance Commission Chair and, going forward, he hopes to translate his experience working in this position to the Senate table to increase fiscal understanding. As B&F chair, he is currently working with ASUCD units to establish their long-range plans.

Spinoglio’s platform focuses on increasing ASUCD outreach on campus. As a member of Greek life, Spinoglio hopes to increase collaboration between ASUCD and the Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life. Spinoglio has been meeting with leaders of Greek Life to collaborate on future philanthropic events to raise money and awareness for ASUCD on campus.

Spinoglio is passionate about changing the culture of the ASUCD Senate. As B&F chair, Spinoglio has seen conflict on the table first-hand and hopes to recenter the Senate’s main focus back to solving the issues affecting students.

Shondreya Landrum

Shondreya Landrum is a third-year political science and cognitive science double major running on the BASED slate. She has a four-pronged platform focused on ensuring the safety of all students on campus, promoting zero hate and discrimination on campus, protecting underrepresented communities and maintaining ASUCD accountability.

Landrum hopes to increase the number of Blue Lights on campus. Currently, UC Davis has the fewest number of blue lights of any UC campus despite being the largest UC campus in terms of acreage. Landrum also wants to create a more visible space on campus where students can access safety resources.

Sahiba Kaur

Third-year managerial economics major Sahiba Kaur is a transfer student running on the BASED slate. Her platforms include students success and wellness, increasing transfer student engagement and environmental justice. Kaur was previously the president of the Associated Students of Delta College where she found value in engaging with the campus community and, upon coming to UC Davis, knew she wanted to join ASUCD.

Her specific platform action items include increasing awareness and efforts to help students who live in their vehicles, working with the External Affairs Commission and Ethnic and Cultural Affairs Commission to tackle housing discrimination in Davis, building a transfer student resource coalition and working with the Environmental Policy and Planning Commission toward making UC Davis herbicide free. Since coming to Davis in Fall Quarter, Kaur has revived the UC Davis chapter of the American Association of University Women, an organization she has been involved with since seventh grade.

Written by: Ally Russell, Claire Dodd and Kenton Goldsby

Campus News Editor Hannah Holzer also contributed to this report.