Name: J.P. Blackford
Hometown: Washington, D.C.
Major: doctoral student, School of Engineering and Applied Science
Year: fourth-year graduate student
Credentials: SA senator (G-SEAS), Dining Services Commission graduate student representative, chairman of the Finance and Rules Committees, president of Engineers Council
After serving seven years in the Student Association Senate, J.P. Blackford said he decided it was time for him to take the reins of the SA legislative branch as executive vice president.
“Next year will be my last year at GW,” Blackford said. “I felt it was time to step up and lead the Senate.”
Blackford, who did his undergraduate and graduate work at GW, served as the interim EVP last year after the impeachment and removal of former SA President Phil Meisner.
As chair of the Rules Committee, which reviews all legislation before it goes to the senate floor, Blackford said he learned the SA’s bylaws and the extent of the SA’s power.
“(With) seven years experience, I can make the Senate operate more quickly,” he said. “I want to have the Student Association be a body people can be proud of, instead of the butt of jokes.”
Students want to see an active SA, Blackford said, instead of one that focuses on internal bickering and disputes.
“That’s what students care about,” he said. “Things that affect them, not things that restructure the SA.”
Although he said he has been working with presidential candidate Roger Kapoor, Blackford is not officially running with any candidate. He said he will be able to easily work with who is elected president.
“Two people have to work together,” he said. Blackford said the SA can accomplish little when the connection between the president and EVP deteriorates.
After being an undergraduate and graduate student at GW, Blackford said he will be able to help the SA to work for all students.
“I don’t want this to be a graduate takeover of the Senate,” he said. “There are very few issues where grads and undergrads have a major difference in opinion.”
The EVP position will give Blackford a chance to coordinate the efforts of all the SA senators and work toward shared goals, he said.
“There’s a lot of ideas we have in common,” Blackford said. “We can come together on the things we agree on.”
Blackford said it is hard to identify one major accomplishment in his expansive Senate career, but said he was proud of his work rewriting the financial bylaws, “ensuring that the financial process is a more even process.”
Blackford cited his interim term as EVP last year, and efforts to keep the focus of the Senate after the impeachment, as his more recent accomplishments.
“I’m trying to steer the direction of the school to something more of what the students want,” he said.
With only a few incumbent senators on the ticket this year, Blackford said he is prepared to lead an inexperienced Senate next year.
“I’m very familiar with Senate operations and procedure,” he said. “I don’t see there being any tension in the Senate.”