Candidates speak their Minds and Hopes for Votes

The SGA held the debates in the JSAC Hardy Room on Friday, Mar. 24, at 1:30 p.m. (Left to Right) Candidates Jenny Smeragliuolo, Joshua LaFavor, Paul Kelton, LeDarius Scott, David Peltier and Chris Forde are pictured. (Photo: Skyler Mitchell)

By Skyler Mitchell | Staff Writer

Election day is coming closer and closer for Augusta University and the people running for student government just had their final say.

The Student Government Association (SGA) is starting elections soon and the race is coming to a close. Winners will be announced shortly on Wednesday, Mar. 29, at 5:30 p.m. and the SGA will be under new leadership before the semester ends. Since the date is coming closer and closer, those running for the executive positions decided to give it one final go before letting the voters decides.

The SGA held the debates in the JSAC Hardy Room on Friday, Mar. 24, at 1:30 p.m. The debates were the final chances for the candidates to get their message out. Many candidates were there, all vying for a seat in the SGA.

One of the candidates was John Talman, who is running for the undergraduate senate. Talman was the president of the student body and Beta clubs in high school, and he has participated in several fundraisers in his high school.

Talman said he believes that he can help deal with the issues students face and believes that they should be dealt with immediately.

“If we talk to the students, we will see students be empowered and work as a huge student body,” he said when asked on what he hoped to do as a member of the SGA.

Another student running for the undergraduate senate is Nick Maron. He is involved in helping the alumni and faculty here at AU and believes that students should get more involved with the SGA.

“I want a more unified campus,” was one of his opening statements. Maron said he believes that the SGA should work together closely and work their problems out instead fighting.

The only candidate known to be running for the Senator for the College of Nursing is Langley Anderson. Anderson is involved with many aspects of Greek life here on campus.

Anderson has said that, “I believe increased involvement with school events increases [the students] interest in the school.” Anderson also believes student outreach is important as well.

For the secretary position, the sole candidate is Jenny Smeragliuolo, who has no experience in student government. However, she makes up for her time in the programming committee by running fundraisers and planning events for the university.

“I see a lot of potential for the SGA to do good things on campus,” Smeragliuolo said in her opening statements. She hopes to see a rise in student involvement in the SGA if she is in the association.

The first candidate for the vice president position is Joshua LaFavor. Despite having depression and Asperger Syndrome, he has done good work for the university.

“I want to show students can work past anything life throws at them,” LaFavor said in his opening remarks. LaFavor said he also believes that the SGA should work together to solve problems and a be place where students voice their grievances.

The second candidate for vice president is Paul Kelton. Kelton has worked on the Freshman Council for about a year, was the vice president for an honors society in her high school, and works with the Academic Success Center.

One of Kelton’s beliefs is, “The way to get stuff done is through hard work and determination.”

Kelton said he wants the SGA to branch out to other student organizations on campus and increase awareness for it.

The first presidential candidate is Chris Forde. A senator for about a year, Forde has also participated in Greek life on campus. Forde is also a proponent for student engagement and wants to help them achieve their goals.

“I see this as a place where students can voice their opinions and build a community,” Forde said when questioned on how he felt about the SGA.

The second candidate for the presidential position is David Peltier, who has two years of experience in the undergraduate senate and in politics.

“I believe the SGA will grow dramatically [in the next five years], especially with the edition of the judicial branch,” Peltier said when asked about his idea of the future of the SGA.

Peltier said he believes that the SGA should be for the benefit of the students, not just another voice for the university administration.

The final candidate running for president is LeDarius Scott, who is a political science major, a former orientation leader, a student ambassador and a member of the African American Male Initiative. He has hopes of improving the Freshmen Council and helping those in need. Scott said he believes that the SGA is not using the resources it is being given well enough and wants to change that.

“True leadership is not defined by our resumes,” Scott said during his final statements. “Leadership is all about positive change.”

The time for voting ends soon, so those who plan on voting should before time the window closes and vote online. Voting will start Mar. 27 and end on Mar. 29. Here is the link to vote for the candidates in the SGA elections: http://augustastate.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_9MlfuNAFDMMryDz?Q_DL=01bqdEpd8OJPDqB_9MlfuNAFDMMryDz_MLRP_dnXqByoghdAzYs5&Q_CHL=email

Contact Skyler Mitchell at skmitchell@augusta.edu.

*Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled John Talman’s name as John Tullman, along with Nick Maron’s name as Nick Mann. The name for the candidate running for the Senator of the College of Nursing and the presence of Chris Alis in the debates were incorrect. Langley Anderson, who is running for the Senator of the College of Nursing, was present in the debates, not Chris Alis. This version has been corrected.

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