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The GW Hatchet

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SA President, EVP candidates enter race in smaller field compared to other years

With five weeks until the Student Association general election, four students have declared their candidacy for president.

SA presidential candidates include juniors David “Tito” Wilkinson, a promoter for Jumpoff Productions; Casey Pond, director of the SA Dining Services Commission; SA Sen. Marc Abanto (U-At Large); and Michael Ray Huerta, a former Colonial Inauguration cabinet member.

Although the pool of candidates is smaller, presidential hopefuls Pond and Abanto do not foresee any changes from past SA elections.

“I don’t think it will have much of an effect on the campaign,” said Pond, who ran for SA president last year. “However, we still have a few more weeks for students to declare candidacies.”

More students may declare candidacy for SA president before the mid-Febuary deadline, but they must first receive 2 percent of the student body’s signatures to appear on the ballot, which is approximately 400 signatures.

In addition to fewer presidential candidates, there also are also fewer slates, or pseudo- parties in which candidates for the various offices run together. During the past two SA elections, slates have increased in number and influence compared to previous years.

Abanto, who is running on the GW Student Union slate, and Huerta are the only candidates to announce that they will be running with a ticket of other candidates this year. Wilkinson said he is unsure if he will be starting a slate, but is “keeping his options open.”

The SA slate appeared in 2005 with presidential candidate Ben Traverse’s Coalition for Reform. In 2006, a majority of candidates ran on slates including The College Party, GWUnited and Real GW, which were led by SA presidential candidates junior Nick D’Addario, junior Elliot Rozenberg and senior Morgan P. Corr, respectively.

While deciding whether to form a slate, the presidential candidates have also made decisions on their running mates for SA executive vice president.

Wilkinson will be running with sophomore Brand Kroeger, vice chair of the College Republicans; Pond will running with sophomore Andrew Cooper, SA President Lamar Thorpe’s former vice president of public affairs; Abanto will be running with D’Addario, Thorpe’s former vice president of undergraduate student policy; and Huerta will be running with junior SA Sen. Chris Rotella (CCAS-U), chair of the SA Rules Committee. In addition, junior Elliot Bell-Krasner, former SA President Audai Shakour’s director of transfer student affairs, will be running for SA EVP.

Wilkinson said that he and Kroeger are currently finalizing a platform, which will highlight their “motives and purpose.” Wilkinson said that it will be pertinent to illustrate that they are “serious and viable” candidates, since they are “obvious outsiders” to the SA and have no direct SA experience.

Pond said that he and Cooper, if elected, will pursue issues including changing Colonial Mail to Google Mail to increase the low quota size of e-mail, increasing hours at the Marvin Center and Duqu?s Hall for studying, and creating an “online waiting-list for classes.”.

Abanto said that he and D’Addario, if elected, would revising the University’s health and safety policy to allow for the reclamation of items confiscated during dorm inspections, creating a “rate my internship site” to give students a better understanding of different internships, and the reduction or possible elimination of printing and transcript fees.

Bell-Krasner said he is running to increase awareness about the SA and aims to get more students involved.

Huerta, who is still finalizing his platform with Rotella, said he is running for “progress.”

“For too long, students have questioned the purpose of the SA,” Huerta said. “Progress in making simple, yet visible, reasonable and most importantly, substantial change in our great University.”

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