Whether it’s during national, local or even Students’ Association elections, the Optimist has had a long-standing tradition of endorsing candidates.
The purpose of endorsing, like everything else on the opinion page, is to start a conversation. It gets people talking, not just about the candidate the editorial board thinks is right for the job, but also the candidates the board didn’t select, often lighting a helpful fire on the campaign trails.
But this year, with both the presidential candidate and the vice-presidential candidate running unopposed, it has changed the conversation. It’s not about who is right for the job, but what their goals are for the job before them.
Rather than choosing to endorse or not endorse the unopposed candidates, we sat down with all the candidates to find out what they wanted students to know about them and the things they anticipate for the future of SA.
We have already seen Beau Carter function as SA president this semester after he inherited the position from Rodney Johnson in March, which could be considered a time of turmoil for SA. Caleb Orr, current sophomore class president, has been one of the more active members of Congress this year, already working closely with Carter.
Even though there are three candidates in the race for executive treasurer, we have chosen not to endorse in their race either. With or without Optimist endorsement, it’s going to be a close race. Some candidates bring more SA experience while others bring more fiscal experience, both of which are pertinent to fulfilling the treasurer position successfully.
Finally, to echo many editorials of years past, the most important thing students should remember in the midst of elections is to actually vote. Last year the percentage of the student body that voted increased to about 30 percent, up from about 15 percent the year before. While this is a significant increase, it’s still an insignificant portion of the student body.
And now the ballot box comes straight to your inbox, so you don’t even have to awkwardly fill out a Scantron in the middle of the Campus Center. With the new amendments to the constitution, which students will also have the chance to vote on in this election, students should theoretically have more representation in Congress. This means there is a stronger correlation, now more than ever, between who you vote for and the quality of representation given to you and your money.
The competition for president is tight this year, with so many students clamoring for the position.
Obviously that was a joke, Carter is running unopposed, but did want the student body to know how seriously he takes the position.
He said he understands where his priorities lie, especially with his members of Congress.
“If we are inspiring them, if we are engaging them, making them work, then they are fulfilling the duties of our office absolutely,” he said.
Carter’s goal for next year is to fill every Congress seat with members writing bills. I want every seat filled I want everyone writing bills. ”
As their representatives of the student body, we can’t expect the student body to be engaged, equipped, empowered, if we aren’t doing the job of our Congress members which is to find out what these students need. What these students want.”
He said if SA wants to make things happen and get things done, it will have to be engaged and invested, which is one of his goals, if he is voted into presidency.
Orr seems to have been counting down the days he could get in the executive office since he set foot on the hill.
He knows the constitution backwards and was the main author and proponent of the amendments to the constitution that students will vote on this week.
“The biggest thing written in the constitution for the vice president is the administration of elections, which is why I have this unique ability with the amendment, because 1. I wrote the amendment and 2. I’ll be one executing and administrating that amendment.”
Orr has huge expectations for SA this next year and seems to have plans to make the student body notice
“SA is going to have so much more money than it’s had before because of the activity fee increase. More members, more money, equals more institutional strength for SA,” Orr said. “There will be tangible things that you will know SA is doing for you. There will be an unprecedented level of participation between SA and students.”
Running for Treasurer:
Apart from loving Excel spreadsheets, Jennings has been active in Students’ Association for the past two years.
She has worked on SA’s financial strategies and reviews committee with Andrew Tate, 2014-2015 SA treasurer, and helped him achieve the 99 percent spending goal.
Jennings said one of her goals is to spend as much of the budget as possible, but to spend it wisely.
“You can spend money really easily but we need to make sure it’s on stuff that actually benefits the student body.”
Jennings says she is an in-between candidate for the treasurer position, because she has the experience in SA and in financial matters, with her background as a finance major.
Though he has not served on Students’ Association before, Broderick said he wanted to get involved and give back to the student body. This finance major from Abilene said he is ready to serve in a leadership position.
Working in Accounts Payable on campus for the last year, managing credit cards and expense reports, he said he’s gained a financial background suitable for the treasurer position. He has experience working with the current SA treasurer and CFO on the university’s end of SA accounts.
Broderick says he’s a man from Abilene, for Abilene.
“This is a great opportunity to elect someone who lived and breathed ACU and has the resume,” he said. “I want to make sure we are taking advantage of every opportunity. That’s my mission: to not let any money go wasted.”
Chukwuma “Chuck” Oputa
Better known as “Chuck,” Oputa has served on SA for several years, first as a representative for Edwards Hall and then as junior class president.
Lacking the experience as a finance major compared to his competitors, Oputa said he has managed money before, in his positions within SA as well as within his home life.
All that matters, though, is that student life gets proper attention, he said.
“I’m running because I want to breathe life into this campus. People see genuine in me, and that’s what I want people to know.”
He said he’s seen how clubs have been upset in the past, and wants to keep that from happening as best as he can if elected treasurer next year.
“My biggest deal is improving student life at ACU. To make students love coming here.”