USUAA election brings results, interesting write-ins
Results are in for the 2013 student government election.
Andrew Lessig and Andrew Lemish are the new Union of Students at the University of Alaska Anchorage president and vice president.
They won the election by 33 votes over second place candidates Max Bullock and Johnnie Templeton.
510 people voted in the election.
Lessig said he waited for unofficial results to be posted at 5 p.m. Friday. The results were posted early, and he ran to the USUAA office from the spine of the school to see if he’d won.
His immediate reaction following the result posting was a sense of relief.
“There’s been such a big lead-up to this,” he said.
Andrew “Drew” Lemish said he was initially hesitant to look at the results alone, so he grabbed friends from the Greek Life office to check the result with him.
“I was surprised, I guess. I knew it was going to be close,” he said.
Current USUAA President Alejandra Buitrago will officially swear Lessig into office April 26. Afterward, Lessig will swear in Vice President Lemish and any new senators.
Lessig said he has been meeting with previous USUAA presidents and vice presidents for advice and all have provided helpful insight to the job.
While he is already preparing to take on presidential roles — such as prepping for the Planning and Budget Advisory Committee this week, where he can make suggestions about how university funds are allocated — he’d like to kick off his legislative focus on student activities this summer.
He said some students have already approached him about installing a Frisbee golf course on campus. He said he thinks that’s a great summer project to get started on.
Lemish said one of his first primary focuses is going to be adding to the University of Alaska discrimination policy. He said while sexual orientation is protected by university policy, sexual identity is not.
He also said he will be working with other senators throughout the summer to rewrite the USUAA constitution.
He said it has not been updated in a very long time, and many USUAA members want to see the constitution amended to reflect the organization’s present and long term needs.
On that note, Lessig recommended those with concerns about the university to contact him for problem solving. Even if the concern is about something USUAA does not have a direct influence on, Lessig said senators can always advocate for student concerns regardless.
The only candidate to formally apply for USUAA Senator was Terri Lynn Draeger, who received 449 votes.
Stephen Warta, Johnny Paoletti, Dan Munoz, Jackie Odena and Russell Fay are write-in candidates who received enough votes to take seats as senators.
Concert Board Candidate Sofia Fouquet received 455 votes and write-in Garren Volper collected 24 votes. Both will be able to fill the two available seats on the board.
There were no candidates or write-ins with sufficient votes for Media Board members.
Notable write-ins for various positions this year included Chuck Norris, Darth Vader, Harry Potter, Mickey Mouse, Stan Shunpike, The Doctor and Donna Noble, Batman, Sherlock Holmes, Yogi the Bear and Seymour Butts.
Lessig said there are always notable write-ins, but all candidates must also be enrolled in at least six credit hours to be eligible for a senator seat.
He also said it is not uncommon for USUAA elections to have interesting write-in candidates.