Parties focus on the issues

The final wave of student body elections could be decided by three issues: recycling, lobbying and fiscal accountability.

If the RE: and Grassroots Parties stay true to their campaign promises through Wednesday’s 9 p.m. poll closing, students can expect to hear those themes reverberated across campus by party leaders today and tomorrow.

Both parties expressed reluctance to raise fees without student-body support, which could put future plans for an on-campus recreation center in jeopardy.

“We’re very hesitant to raise student fees, and we won’t do it without majority support. Most students have been against it,” Grassroots presidential candidate Alex Lowe said.

RE: Party presidential candidate Chris Carlston’s camp has a different view.

“We are advocates of the rec center as a party, but we don’t think the Associated Students of the University of Utah has enough feedback to go forward with that plan blindly,” he said.

With two campaigns vying for one office, leaders from both sides plan on getting there in different ways.

“We want to help individual students find their niche, and we want them to know exactly what’s going on with their money,” Grassroots vice presidential candidate Bobby Harrington said.

Former news editor of The Daily Utah Chronicle and RE: party vice-presidential candidate Ali Hasnain said his party plans to take a realistic and steady approach to monitor what’s right for students at the U.

Both parties also weighed in on the idea of starting a long term recycling program on campus.

“We understand that a lot of work needs to come from the administration, but those lines of communication are becoming much more open,” Lowe said.

Harrington agreed, noting that recycling has become a “key theme” in the campaign process.

The RE: Party echoed those sentiments, but Hasnain added ASUU needs to show tangible results of a pilot program before moving on to the next step.

“We feel we need to be able to show improvement in recycling numbers before we go ahead with that,” he said.

In the wake of the U’s paltry results on Capitol Hill this past legislative session, candidates from both sides agreed things need to change next year if the state’s flagship institution plans to bring money back.

“It was a tough year, and it’s our role as student leaders to be very proactive and lobby our legislators for our students,” Lowe said.

Hasnain said the RE: Party is ready to take a more proactive approach, organizing a cross section of students from across campus to lobby lawmakers face-to-face.

“We’ll be able to present the issues of students in a real manner. There’ll be no empty rhetoric, but quantifiable results of what higher education cuts would do to the U,” he said.

With Grassroots coming out of primary elections 820 votes ahead of the RE: Party, both sides contested this week’s race is a whole new beginning.

“This will be one of the closest races in the history of the U,” Harrington predicted.

Carlston agreed.

“There’s almost 2,600 votes unaccounted for, so we really feel we’re starting from scratch,” he said.

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