The Observer endorses Kennedy, Oester and Ward for USG elections

Here are The Observer’s endorsements for the Undergraduate Student Government’s (USG) 2015 elections. We chose to endorse these positions because these are the people that interact with the student body the most.

President: Chippy Kennedy

In the past, the position of Vice President of Student Life has fed into the President position. This year, we’d like to see the school buck that trend by bringing in Chippy Kennedy, vice president of finance. This seems appropriate, given that financial issues will play a huge issue in this election, and came up in many candidate interviews. In addition Kennedy stood out for the specificity of his plans to bring more students into General Assembly meetings. Plus it seems likely he will actually accomplish the goals he has set out, as he has gotten quite a bit done this year, with the Sparta Center, Orgsync reforms and changes to the Mass Funding guidelines. A great advocate towards the success of student groups,  Kennedy’s accessibility to students has stood out this year too, as he held nearly double the number of office hours as Ma, and always responds promptly to student concerns. We may not always agree with Kennedy’s position on every topic (i.e. Student Executive Council (SEC) reforms), but with Kennedy at the helm USG could have one of their strongest years in recent history.

Vice President of Student Life: Garretson Oester

Although Barry Goldberg would be a nice shake-up to typical USG environment, and Salina Zhang had some great ideas on the big picture, neither seemed to have the actionable steps needed to accomplish their goals. Garretson Oester, in contrast, has tangible goals that The Observer believes he may be able to really accomplish, like revising NextBus and working more with the administration. He enters the race with a strong background of accomplished initiatives, notably including working with many campus groups and administrators to bring about a removable dance floor for TVUC.

Vice President of Finance: Brian Ward

While The Observer believes that both candidates would do well as the vice president of finance, we think that Ward is more qualified. He has sat in and proxied for Kennedy in SEC meetings and that showed in his interviews. He is also very knowledgeable on how funding works. While both candidates have similar goals, we feel that this knowledgeability and his more specific plans will help him to go through with achieving them. Ward also believes in having more guidelines for mass funding, while Agrawal believes in looser guidelines. While we like that both candidates want to make more category-specific funding decisions, we feel that looser guidelines will only lead to more confusing in the funding process, while tighter guidelines will make things clearer for student groups.