Returning and new Student Association senators are confident this year’s Senate will be cleaner and more productive after a year of resignations and scandal that marred this year’s legislature.
Though five undergraduate and three graduate senators were re-elected along with Executive Vice President Eric Daleo, most senators interviewed said they believe the Senate can get beyond the bickering that characterized the past year.
“I am really excited about next year’s Senate,” said returning Sen. Chrissy Trotta (CCAS-U). “We need some fresh blood to get past the internal politics. This is the mix that we need.”
“I think that there’s a good mix of senators with past experience and new faces coming into the Senate,” said Dan Moss, who was re-elected as undergraduate business school senator.
Daleo faced five opponents last week but garnered 51 percent of the vote, winning his seat for a second term.
“I’ve received a mandate from students to continue my role in the Senate,” said Daleo, the first EVP to hold the seat for two terms. “The students want continued experience and leadership.”
J.P. Blackford, 30, who resigned in December amidst allegations of misusing student funds to purchase alcohol for an SA event at which minors were present, was elected as a write-in candidate for the graduate engineering school seat, receiving two votes. Blackford, who is set to serve a 10th year in the Senate, said he voted for himself, but did not campaign, and does not know the identity of the second voter.
“It looked like the Senate had a lot of potential, and I wouldn’t mind being involved in it,” Blackford said.
“Even if it was only by two people, J.P. (Blackford) has been re-elected. The students have spoken,” said Daleo.
Freshman Columbian School Sen.-elect Asher Corson said he will be able to work with Blackford.
“It’s up to the voters … J.P. is now an elected representative; as a representative of the Columbian school, it’s my obligation to work with him,” Corson said.
Despite the re-election of some incumbents, freshmen Hilary Golston and Corson, both considered outsiders, gained seats as undergraduate CCAS senators.
Both candidates stressed that they relied on grassroots campaigning.
The creation of an ethics committee became a popular issue during the campaign.
“I think that an ethics committee would be a truly fabulous idea … I am 100 percent behind it,” Corson said.
Moss said he was skeptical.
“The creation of an ethics committee disturbs the internal aspect of the SA,” Moss said. “The problems of the Senate can be solved through more effective communication.”