On Wednesday, the University Democrats will conduct its officer elections for spring 2013. These are important because UDems will play an important advocacy role on behalf of students and young people next semester. Nominees in contested races were asked to submit candidacy statements to The Texas Monitor.
Student issues are sure to be at the forefront this legislative session, as budget talks always bring about cuts to higher education funding. By working with progressive groups on and around campus, I believe that we can build a coalition of dedicated students who will take on the Capitol and show that we truly represent the voices of the students on campus, not the Republicans in the legislature. I would like to show our legislators the strength of that student voice by holding one large lobbying day for education funding at the Capitol with student groups from across campus. In addition, I believe that our goal should be to have three University Democrats issue-specific lobbying days. We’ll pick the three issues that we feel are the most important and build our lobbying efforts around them. Students will learn about these issues in a policy committee, where the details of the policies will be discussed. Lobbying workshops with community leaders and progressive groups around campus will then help students take that knowledge and apply it to a real world scenario. I’m running for President of the University Democrats because I believe that I am capable of working with you and serving you in our efforts to advocate for progressive policy at the Capitol, and I certainly hope that you’re ready for a challenging, yet very rewarding, semester lobbying the legislature.
The Legislative Session of 2013 will have a very different feel than 2011′s. We are not gathering in muted defeat after taking on hell of a “shellacking,” as our President put it. Rather, we are joining together in victory. We either gained or maintained seats at both the State and Federal levels. And, of course, we reelected President Barack Obama. The 83rd Legislative Session will not be the same catastrophic mess for us that was the 82nd. We will not have to merely stand to the side in protest as the Republicans steamrolled progress, education, and healthcare across the state. Rather, this time, we can stop them. We can stop their efforts to slash funding and reduce healthcare and cut education. And we will do it together. I am running for President because I feel I have the necessary experience and leadership skills to best direct our efforts in the Spring of 2013. I won’t be able to do it all on my own; I’m not claiming to be Superman. But an effective leader doesn’t need to be, and I feel that I will be able to get the most out of our officers and membership.
I’ve dedicated the past two semesters to my leadership roles in UDems. As Community Director, I worked with campaigns during the primaries as well as with leaders in the Austin Democratic community. As Campus Director, I have spent this semester interacting with various student organizations and gaining support from them during the 2012 election cycle. I have learned how to effectively market our organization both on and off campus. Much of our gained membership during this exciting semester has come from progressive student orgs that have common goals with UDems. I have visited these groups and explained the potential for UDems to be the umbrella organization for progressively minded students and student orgs at UT. This is a message that needs to be further communicated this upcoming semester. UDems lobbying efforts need to be aided by the unique viewpoints that come from QSA, TFI, LLC, BSA, Texas Feminists, TFN, amongst many other groups that share our message. This semester I had the opportunity to build relationships with awesome student leaders from these organizations as your Campus Director. I would love to be able to continue to do so as Communications Director during such an impactful semester. We have a lot of work to do, and I am confident in my ability to convey our message both at the Capitol and to our community this session.
I’m running for Communications Director to put my education and skill set to good use. I have worked closely with Andre (our current Comm. Director) and after gaining an understanding of what the position requires, I would like to be his successor. It is only natural that that a Political Communications major would run for the comm. position. I have learned so much at UT about political communication and I want to share that with our organization. I was fortunate enough to put my skills to good use at GNI Strategies (a campaign firm owned by a former UDem, Katie Naranjo). At GNI I worked on statewide campaigns, actively participating in the social media aspect of the races. Beyond all of this, I have worked for the Texas Democratic Party. I worked under the Communications Director there. I have seen and helped to create my fare share media advisories and press releases. I created and managed several social media accounts for the TDP Promesa Project. I only hope to be able to share and grow my communication skill set with UDems.
I’m running for UDems Secretary out of high respect and affection of the organization. My goal if elected is to maintain the excellent job carried out by the previous officer and considering my previous experience working for the university, I believe that I am qualified for the bureaucrat needs the job requires. Obama!
I am running for UDems Secretary because a large part of the secretary’s duties is the maintenance of the internship program, and I want to make sure this program continues. UDems’ ability to offer internships to its members is incredibly valuable, and people often join this organization because of this very reason. Internships are an excellent way of gaining experience in the political field, and with next semester containing a legislative session, the internship program is as important as ever. Something I’ve noticed within UDems is that there isn’t a lot of interest from the general membership in the goings-on of the officer board. It is the secretary’s job to take minutes during officer meetings and to post them on the website, thusly bridging the gap between the members and officers. I want to spark more interest from the general membership, encouraging them to attend UDLC meetings. It is in these meetings where UDems activities are planned, and members can share their ideas about what they want to happen during the semester. I think I am the best person for the position of secretary. I have been an active member of University Democrats for five semesters, and was awarded Member of the Semester in Spring 2012. I was a member during the last legislative session as well, and I have experience lobbying. I have been politically active since 1996, and have attended political events from rallies for the re-election of Bill Clinton to the Texas Democratic Convention during the summer.
The following races are currently unopposed: Vice President (Pedro Villalobos, Treasurer (Max Patterson), Membership Director (Michelle Willoughby), Campus Director (Carlos Aurelio Martinez), Community Director (David Feigen) and Historian (Nick Mitchell).
Correction: The candidate for Historian is Nick Mitchell, not Scott Wold as was published earlier. Thank you David Feigen for the correction.