By Taylor Pettit
With Student Government Association elections approaching on April 10, a town-hall style debate was opened to the student body and all candidates.
The six executive tickets, two Residence Life Council (RLC) vice president candidates and two student activities council (SAC) vice president candidates were offered time to speak at the 5 p.m. debate April 5 in Middle Powell.
All candidates were given time for an opening, asked a situational question by the Elections Committee Chair, specific questions by the Elections Committee, given time to ask their opposition a question and then allowed to answer audience questions.
Main issues focused on by the audience questions were the feasibility of platforms and experience.
Names were pulled randomly on who would speak first.
“I think it went really well,” said Kristin Royster, election committee chair. “We definitely asked extremely direct questions to kind of force the candidates to talk about their platforms.”
Rhett Ramsey, presidential candidate, said that “experience and vision” would be key to his success, pointing to his temporary position as SGA President during last year’s election process.
“I’ve been through SGA…I’ve been with SGA,” Ramsey said.
Ramsey also pointed to his experience working in Frankfort this semester.
“It’s another way to see the world.”
Madelyn Street, presidential candidate, said “I have a passion for making changes…a President should be proactive.” Street said her passion can be seen in her involvement in the syllabus index project.
One issue brought to Street was her one year of experience and that many of her platform issues were started in previous years. But Street said the key was completion.
“The Fitness and Wellness center has been tabled in the Board of Regents but its clear that students want it,” Street said.
Donovan Nolan, presidential candidate, said he believed in the accessibility and feasibility of his campaign.
“I plan to live on campus next year,” Nolan said. “No matter what’s going on you can call me a colonel.”
One of Nolan’s platform points, allowing students with majors to earn work experience on campus, was questioned.
“It’s going to be a lot harder for the different majors. There’s something for every major out there.”
Megan Gosnell, presidential candidate, focused on her experience on current chief of staff and previous committee on committees chair.
“SGA has been my life, ” Gosnell said.
But one issue brought up against Gosnell was how she reacts under pressure.
“Stress is a part of everyday life,” Gosnell said. “I’ve learned how to deal with it…and there’s going to be even more stress.”
Gosnell was the only candidate who was asked a question and given the option to not answer the question because of the nature of the question.
Current committee on committees chair Elizabeth Horn asked Gosnell how she would be able to handle standing in her own opinion when “you have often stood behind someone.”
Gosnell did not answer the question.
Leo Comerlato, presidential candidate, focused on being reached easily and his desire to work with other candidates.
“Open communication, an open door policy,” Comerlato said.
But one issue brought up was the relationship with his running mate, Adam Steeber, who are fraternity brothers.
“I chose to run with him because of the friendship and we’ve worked on stuff before,” Comerlato said.
Dan Hendrickson, presidential candidate, said his focus would not be on the LGBT community but other minorities that are “often forgotten.”
Hendrickson, who has not been involved in Student Senate but was involved in RLC, was asked why he had not chosen for RLC VP.
Hendrickson said he had leadership experience at another university and said he wanted to bring his experience from RLC into other areas of SGA.
Vice Presidential Candidates
Cari Tretina, Ramsey’s running mate, said she believed the proof was in the numbers.
“5 years of experience between Rhett and I…335 votes to be reelected as your student rights chair,” Tretina said.
Nichole Arbino, Street’s running mate, said even though she only had one year of experience she had results from one year.
‘Through the work on the syllabi index, I worked with a lot students and was chosen by President Mollozzi to be a student representative on the implementation team.”
Dan Kiersten, Nolan’s running mate, said his lack of SGA experience should be considered a positive.
“I have no SGA experience. None. But that means I have no bias to go along with that.”
Kenton Murphy, Gosnell’s running mate, focused on the “colonel vision” of his campaign and working towards issues such as a 24-hour practice space for music students.
“I think out vision is very realistic,” Murphy said. “We didn’t put anything that couldn’t be accomplished.”
Adam Steeber, Comerlato’s running mate, said even though his SGA experience was limited to running the Facebook page for one semester his platform should speak for him.
“Increasing meal swipe flexibility, shuttle shelters, increased study areas, Fitness and Wellness center,” Steeber said. “We are not just focused in one area.”
Marcus Segura, Hendrickson’s running mate, opened with the idea of changing how SGA is viewed.
“When I asked my friends what they wanted…one asked me a question,” Segura said. “If you get elected can you make SGA not a joke anymore?”
Segura also focused on his main platform issue of gender neutral housing.
RLC and SAC Candidates
Jared Godbey, candidate for RLC VP, said he was focused on diversity for students with disabilities and minority students.
“I’d like to be the voice for those students,” said Godbey through a sign language interpreter.
But Brandon Mandingo, candidate for RLC VP, said one of his main goals would be to provide free laundry service in the dorms.
“I’ve looked into it…it would require placing a $20 fee for students,” Mandingo said.
Tasha Stanfield and Joe Katzman, candidates for SAC VP, both volleyed off of each other’s answers focusing on communication and focusing on the students as an audience.
“I want to make sure we provide events that students want,” Katzman said.
Stanfield focused on the need for thorough advertising through chalking, banners and EKU Today.