Dodge Next A.S. President

The Unity slate accomplished its goal Friday as its candidates swept the A.S. Council election by winning all 22 races that they ran in.

David Pilz
Guardian

“”Honestly, I wasn’t expecting all 22 of our slate members to all win,”” said A.S. President-elect Jeff Dodge. “”That is kind of unheard of, but I think it just shows that we are a good group of people and that we are going to do good things for the A.S.””

The Unity slate, led by Dodge, Vice President Internal-elect Jenn Brown and Vice President Finance-elect Sam Shoostary, has been campaigning for almost two months. The members say the work they put into their campaign was their ultimate key to victory.

“”And I really felt it was just a matter of who could put the most energy and time out there,”” said Dodge.

Dodge, who is currently the vice president internal for this year’s A.S. Council, said that although he did not expect to win, he is honored to become the new president.

Dodge received a total of 1,311 votes, while Ali Yazdi, presidential candidate for the One slate, received 665 votes, John Bwarie received 587, Jennifer Christine Villanueva Ganata received 437 and Noah Levin received 349 votes.

Dodge said this election has been a valuable learning experience.

“”The one thing I learned is that you have to go out and present yourself as who you are,”” he said. “”If you go out and put on a plastic fake smile and shake a bunch of hands, it is not going to work. But if you go and be yourself and talk about things that students care about, it will all work out in the end.””

The vice president internal race was considerably closer. Brown received a total of 1,470 votes, while One slate member Shana Thakur received 1,205 votes.

The outcome of the election came as a surprise to Brown as well.

“”We worked so hard that I knew we had a chance and that I personally had a chance,”” she said. “”But especially after the Guardian endorsement and everything, I really wasn’t expecting it at all.””

Brown said Thakur ran a very successful campaign in the race, considering the absence of certain necessary factors on her slate.

“”Shana is awesome and I think she would have done just as good a job as I would,”” Brown said. “”She put up a tough fight. She ran a really good election.””

Regardless, Thakur said she was surprised over the final outcome of the election.

“”I expected more of a mix between individuals,”” she said. “”I thought certain members of my slate would have won.””

In addition, Thakur criticized having slates on campus citing that they give an unfair advantage for those who are a part of them.

“”From the beginning I didn’t like slates because qualified candidates actually don’t have a chance to win,”” she said. “”Now that the election is over, I would like to see at least smaller slates.””

Thakur said she is undecided as to her level of participation with the A.S.- council next year.

Due to the lack of competition for the vice president finance position, Sam Shooshtary won with 2,213 votes, the most of anyone in the election.

“”I feel really great,”” Shoostary said. “”I am so happy that Jeff and Jenn won.””

The vice president external position was very close election as well. Although the One slate did not have a representative, independent candidate Ernesto Martinez came within 300 votes of Unity candidate Dylan deKervor.

DeKervor said the win was a justified and gratifying experience for her and her slate.

“”I feel like a lot of hard work paid off on behalf of myself and my entire slate,”” she said. “”Having worked with everybody, I just know how hard everyone worked. Coming into this, I knew that everybody deserved to win and so I feel like the entire UCSD community did themselves a service.””

Although both slates had commissioner of programming candidates, current co-Assistant Programming Chair Eisha Christian won by almost 750 votes.

“”Honestly, I was not expecting this,”” she said. “”I was hoping for it, but then I wasn’t completely sure. You never know how elections turn out. I have never heard of a slate winning the whole thing like this.””

She said her slate’s ability to work together this last week proved to be the determining factor of such success.

“”This week has been nuts, exhausting and fun,”” she said. “”I thought elections were going to be a lot worse, but I think we had a lot of awesome people supporting each other. I couldn’t have made it, through, without all 21 of them.””

Four other commissioners from the Unity slate won their respective positions. Jennifer DeCamp won for commissioner of academic affairs, Catherine Algeri won for commissioner of communications, Colin Parent won for commissioner of services and enterprises and Kyle Biebesheimer won for commissioner of student advocacy.

In addition, voter turnout was up over five percent from last year, bringing the number of students who voted up to approximately 3,700.

“”I found out here that we hit 3,600 or so,”” Biebesheimer said. “”It was more than four percent more than what they were hoping for so it really pays that people went out, took it seriously and went and voted.””

The 24 percent of students who voted also passed both fee referendums and both constitutional referendums. By passing fee referendum No. 1, students voted to increase tuition by $2 per quarter to use toward membership in the United States Student Association and the University of California Student Association. This will free up over $22,000 from the A.S. Council budget devoted to membership.

Fee referendum No. 2 calls for a $1 increase in student tuition per quarter to give more funding to the Academic Success Program, which specializes in peer tutoring, peer mentorship and a book-borrowing service.

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