By Morgan Goddard, Contributing Writer
On Tuesday, April 5th, students packed into the West Liberty University alumni room as the 2016 Student Government Association presidential and vice-presidential candidate debate began. The purpose was not only to introduce the potential candidates of the SGA, but to also allow the student body to hear what the candidates have to offer.
The two running parties consist of presidential candidate Lynnsie Parson’s and her running mate Jessica Ballard, and on the other side, presidential candidate David “Reid” Boden and his running partner Dave Cullinan. The debate was moderated by Tammie Beagle, Assistant Professor of Journalism.
The debate began at 8p.m. with a short introduction by current SGA president Allison Ashworth, and was split into two parts with a short intermission in between. The first half of the debate consisted of question that were pre-prepared, though the candidates were not given access to them beforehand.
The very first question quickly set the tone for the rest of the debate, as the presidential candidates were asked what “what would be your top priority as president of SGA, and why do pick that out of all the opportunities before you?”
Candidate Boden replied that his first priority is “exactly what the name implies, the students.”
Candidate Parsons replied, “The voices of the students being heard is also the number one priority.”
The next question asked was directed at the vice-president candidates. Professor Beagle asked them to, “Explain why you chose your campaign slogan, and how it embodies your vision for student government.”
Candidate Ballard explains that their slogan, “Experience You Can Trust”, to her is all about the fact that she and her running mate both have previous experience on SGA. They have faced various challenges, and have helped the student’s voices be heard in many ways. They truly believe that with this experience, they can help mold the SGA into a group of people the student body can rely on.
Candidate Cullinan then took his turn to explain the slogan he and Boden chose, “Transparency. Clarity. Energy. Vision.” Transparency is exactly what it sounds like to them, being open and transparent with the student body. Clarity is having a clear view of how they would steer SGA into the right direction, as well as being clear with the students and their intentions.
Energy came to mind, because as a freshman, Boden believes he has the energy needed to create a fresh and exciting SGA. Then lastly, on the subject of vison, Cullinan believes that he and his running mate have a great vision for the school and where to take the future of the SGA.
Many questions followed and all candidates gave very clear, concise, and informative answers. The questions were then stopped by a short intermission. Then, the second half began as the parties answered questions written by the students attending the debate. The questions were less formal.
At one point, the presidential candidates were even asked to say something nice to each other. Of course this was very humorous to everyone attending, but it was also a great moment to see that even though they are running against each other, the candidates truly do support one another, and just want what is best for the university.
So to all those who were unable to attend, be sure to ask those who did about the debate. Make sure to understand all sides of the parties. The voting will begin Thursday, April 4th. It is up to us as the students of this university to make a well informed decision on who will run the SGA.