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Candidates debate before SA elections

By Nikie Johnson
Daily Cougar Staff

Candidates running for president, vice president and regent in the Students' Association general elections debated for the last time Monday evening, touching on topics including student representation, University pride, crime and transportation.

It was the last debate before today and Wednesday's SA general elections.

Kevin Harwerth/The Daily Cougar

Students' Association presidential candidate Justin Ray speaks at Monday evening's SA debate. In the background, from left, are candidate Andy Brown, Election Commissioner Kim Webb and candidates James Rovertson Jr. and Kenya Walker.

James Robertson Jr., an independent candidate for president, was primarily concerned with representing the students. He also Robertson said he would like to build a sense of community through outreach programs to the Third Ward.

"It's all about students, respect, unity," Robertson said. "(My campaign) is not about prestige or building a résumé. It's genuine concern for the students of this university."

As the head of the Cougar Tradition Party, Justin Ray's main points in the debate were his three years' experience in SA and that his party has an established rapport with the administration, which he said benefits the students.

"The primary purpose of the SA is to be a liaison between students and the administration," Ray said.

Kenya Walker, presidential candidate for the Qualified Cougar Party, wants to help students and administration communicate. She said she would make listening to students her first concern.

Walker said she could "render a great deal of service to the University," creating a "better college experience."

Andy Brown, also an independent presidential candidate, dealt mainly with bringing a better sense of community to the University during the debate.

"I think that's really the purpose of SA," he said.

Brown said he wants to reduce crime by increasing the role of Cougar Patrol, improve parking by bringing light rail service to campus and bring more retail services and vending competition to UH.

The three vice presidential candidates, Joel Rodriguez, Bill Kelly and De'Mia Willis, also debated.

Rodriguez said he would like to develop UH into a "community for all students," to increase safety, to improve housing and to expand Cougar 1Card services.

Kelly vowed to increase senators' attendance at meetings and to make residence-hall repair his No. 1 issue. He said that he would "answer to students, not to a ticket."

Willis stressed that teamwork was important to get things done in SA, and that, as a cheerleader, she is in touch with what the students want. "I know what's going on at the University at this very moment," she said.

Also at the debate were student regent candidates Njeri Mwaniki and Glen Turner.

As a resident adviser, Mwaniki said that she is in touch with students and wants to let them know what the SA is doing through advertising.

Turner, the incumbent student regent, said that it is important to know what students want and to help decrease student apathy at the University.

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