By Wildcat Opinions Board
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday March 13, 2003
Everyone knew the race for student body president would not be like last year.
Last year: landslide. This year: Neck-and-neck.
In an exciting general election race ÷ one that was decided by a mere 61 votes ÷ Freshman Class Council director J.P. Benedict barely won out the presidential election over administrative vice president Jered Mansell.
Neither Benedict nor Mansell was ideal for the job.
Of course, like any job, there is a huge learning curve.
Benedict showed enthusiam during the race, but his campaign lacked a strong platform.
Although Benedict showed enthusiasm during the race, his campaign lacked a strong platform.
But who's to say he can't still find his strength.
He started out with a strong message about being a president more focused on student-centered campus issues. But in the final days of the election, after regents approved a tuition hike, his language switched.
He talked about lobbying in Phoenix. That's fine, but his original views about spirit made him stand out. Hopefully he will revisit those now that he's elected.
But with student lobbyist Melanie Rainer, who took the executive vice presidential seat with only a 27-vote difference, at his side, Benedict can still succeed.
Rainer proved herself this year by lobbying for the student tuition proposal. The proposal had flaws, but Rainer stood by her convictions. Hopefully she will maintain that same passion next year and hold to her campaign promises.
She's professional and determined.
Although Scott Cheney led the race in the primaries, Rainer's "My UA" calendar idea and her lobbying experience challenged the polls in the last two days.
Rainer proved to the student body she was the best person to handle UA clubs and organizations.
Cheney, with his experiences as a senator, will be a valuable asset to ASUA if he decides to apply as for a position as a program director or presidential cabinet member.
Meanwhile, Benedict has an unhill battle. Being president is not easy.
But together, Benedict and Rainer can shine.
And they'll have to work with Victoria Ruan, the administrative vice president elect, who ran with the two guys who lost. Although candidates were forbidden from riding on the same ticket, it was clear sides were taken.
Mansell, Cheney and Ruan campaigned hard together, attempting to become the next executive team.
Benedict, Rainer and Ruan should put the election behind them and work on building a solid administration.
J.P. Benedict has an exciting year ahead of him.
Tuition debates will sizzle, class availability may suffer more, and students will always be unhappy with basketball tickets.
What should we expect next year? We can only hope that the senators toss out their impossible platforms quicker and that the executive branch of ASUA focuses on being accessible to the student body.
Sitting at the same table with administrators is fine, but hopefully Benedict will fulfill his promise and focus on reaching out to students.
Opinions are determined by the Wildcat opinions board and written by one of its members. They are Daniel Scarpinato, Jessica Lee, Jose Ceja, Jennifer Duffy, Brett Fera, Erik Flesch, Caitlin Hall, Jessica Suarez and Kendrick Wilson.