A few good endorsements

By Andrew Sheeler

This semester, there are two candidates for student regent, five candidates for student senator and one candidate for the ASUAF Concert Board. Not one of them is being challenged for office. As it stands, no matter how the vote goes on Nov. 29 and 30, Frank Gamboa will remain on the concert board. Robert Kinnard, Dillon Ball, Sophia Grzeskowiak-Amezquita, Jesse Cervin and Tachit Chairat will all retain their respective seats in the ASUAF senate. Arthur Martin and Mari Freitag will join four students from UAA and UAS in consideration by Gov. Sean Parnell for the position of student regent.

It takes guts to run for public office. The candidates on the ASUAF fall semester ballots have put themselves out there. To paraphrase Teddy Roosevelt, they are the men and women in the arena. I respect them for that. But these candidates are running unopposed in their respective races. That’s not an election, it’s a formality.

So let’s change that. Here are my endorsements for the ASUAF election. Where I find a candidate to be insufficient, I will offer up a write-in alternative since those are all the rage right now.

For ASUAF Concert Board, I endorse Frank Gamboa. As part the board, Gamboa can point to bringing up Nappy Roots as a legitimate accomplishment. I look forward to see what the next big act brought up will be.

For Senate Seat K, I endorse Dillon Ball with a strong disclaimer: Dillon Ball is a Sun Star staff photographer. My endorsement stems from both my personal experience working with him and from him impressing me at the ASUAF candidate debate. Sen. Ball, I look forward to seeing you make that talk of shrinking the ASUAF senate size into reality.

For Senate Seat O, I endorse writing in Timon from “The Lion King.” Because Cervin’s “Hakuna Matata no worries” philosophy works so much better as a musical number. Sen. Cervin said “[voter] apathy isn’t really a bad thing.” With such a cartoonish approach to politics, why not elect an actual cartoon to the seat?

For Senate Seat R, I endorse Robert Kinnard III. As a newcomer to the senate, he deserves a chance to make his contribution to our campus and the student body.

For Senate Seat S, I endorse writing in Rip Van Winkle. If you are going to sleep through a mandatory candidate debate like Sophia Grzeskowiak-Amezquita did, then you might as well do it with panache. Write in Rip for Senate Seat S.

For Senate Seat T, I endorse Tachit Chairat. Like Senators Ball and Kinnard, Chairat is new to the senate this year and needs to be given time to prove himself in the political arena.

For Student Regent, I endorse Mari Freitag. I strongly approve of both Freitag and Arthur Martin declaring their support for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people being protected by the University of Alaska non-discrimination clause. Whoever is picked, I urge them to fight for that change.

Why Freitag? Because despite a self-professed ignorance of the University of Alaska budget, Martin is quick to condemn the university for “misappropriation of funds.” I asked Martin about the  funds he considered misappropriated. He cited the RISE Board’s proposal to install a “$300,000 solar panel” on the Student Recreation Center. This completely misses the point of the RISE Board and the Office of Sustainability. The Office of Sustainability is sitting on a projected 10-year budget of $5 million. Students voted to add the SIREN fee to their tuition costs for projects exactly like this.

I’ll be honest: I don’t know Mari Freitag very well. I was reasonably impressed with her self-confidence at the ASUAF candidate debate, but the truth is that Arthur Martin’s ignorance does not inspire. As such, he has no place as student regent, which is why I’m endorsing Freitag.

Uncontested elections like this happen because students are apathetic. You get the government that you deserve.

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