This year’s first Student Association outsider announced a bid for the presidency Wednesday night, joining what is so far a small pool of contenders for the SA’s two top spots.
John Richardson, a sophomore, said Wednesday he is seeking the SA presidency, adding that his lack of SA experience should not be a concern for voters.
“It’s not a lack of experience, it’s a new perspective with fresh ideas,” Richardson said. “It does not matter that I haven’t been on the SA, what matters is having a good working relationship with the administration and student organizations, rather than legislative experience.”
Richardson joins current SA Sen. Jason Kaplan, CCAS-U, as one of the only two candidates who have so far declared their intentions to run for the SA’s highest position. Candidate registration began Monday.
If elected, Richardson said he would focus on reforming on-campus recruiting at the Career Center and ensuring a continuation of community service. He said he wants to create an office of student outreach that is more accessible to students than the SA currently is.
“The No. 1 job of the president is to be chief lobbyist for the student body,” Richardson said, adding that having a working relationship with students is key.
Richardson is a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity, the same fraternity as current SA President Jason Lifton.
Kaplan, who announced his candidacy last month, said he wants to reform Student Judicial Services and make student counseling at the University Counseling Center free.
“Students don’t die from bad food at J Street, students die because they cannot afford counseling or they are too afraid to seek help,” Kaplan said. “It’s time for the SA to give more back to the students.”
Earlier this week, SA Sens. Amanda Galonek, CCAS-U, and Ted Costigan, CCAS-U, each declared their candidacies for executive vice president.
Galonek, chair of the SA Rules Committee, said she is running her campaign on her “approachable” nature, and said she will be the candidate who will make the SA more approachable for the average student. Galonek also served on the SA last year as one of three non-voting freshman senators.
If elected, Galonek said she would focus on improving Gelman Library and improving GWireless connections. Gelman has been a hot-button issue in the SA for the last 2 years.
Costigan – a first-year senator – is labeling himself a “fighter,” and said he will advocate more for students and not take “no” for an answer. He plans to focus on making FixIt – the University’s facilities services – more expedient, Gelman and reforming on-campus dining – perennial stables on candidates’ platforms.
All four candidates agreed the SA has been plagued by internal reform changes this year, each noting that if elected he or she will reform this pattern and bring the SA’s focus back to advocating for students.
Registration ends Monday, Feb. 21. Elections are scheduled for Mar. 9 and 10.
Photos taken by Anne Wernikoff / Photo Editor