Nading: Pay attention to GSB elections


Photo: Suhaib Tawil/Iowa State D

Students listen to the presidential and vice presidential candidates at the Government of the Student Body Presidential Debate on Feb. 17 at Friley Windows.

Mackenzie Nading

Don’t ever trust a politician.

Society has been sending this message loud and clear recently. We’re told they’re nothing but a bunch of pompous, self-centered, heartless individuals with only a personal agenda in mind that involves gaining power. This may be true of some politicians, or wannabe politicians, I should say. The true art of being a politician does not involve selfishness, it does not involve planned and rehearsed events to gain attention, and it certainly does not put gaining power as their motive for getting into office.

The negative characteristics listed above are ones to avoid when seeking a valid individual to represent a constituency in office. Anyone holding those traits is not a politician at all; they are just an individual trying to abuse power. This is especially true for federal and state politicians, but what about those future politicians who may be among our student body today? They may be sharing a bus with you, sitting in class with you, even eating in the same dining center. If you haven’t noticed yet, our Government of the Student Body campaign season for president and vice president is well underway, and we have student politicians among us now who we need to pay some special attention to.

It is important, in any political realm, that the politicians elected are qualified individuals who are able to make spontaneous decisions under pressure that are for the good of all their constituency. Sounds like a hefty job, doesn’t it? That’s because it takes very special and talented people to be politicians. It is our role as constituents to make sure we are electing those with the proper qualifications who can reach these high standards. However, this doesn’t just apply to the politicians in Washington, D.C.; this is true for our student government as well. If we don’t start paying attention, especially during this critical election season, the result could be detrimental.

During this GSB election we need to be seeking out the candidates who can put all personal agendas aside and act as a professional and fair representation to all of the students on this campus. If there is a candidate who is running his or her campaign as a popularity contest, only wanting office to hold power over everyone else or to assert the authority he thinks he “deserves,” we need to be very cautious of him.

There is a lot at stake in the GSB elections. The president and vice president of the student body get awarded scholarships from student fees, paid by each of us, that either gives them full or half tuition plus room and board on campus for one whole academic year. In other words, the president who we, the student body, are responsible for electing, will be getting a full ride to attend this university next year.

I don’t know about everyone else on this campus, but if my money is going toward someone else’s free ride, I sure want him or her to be a respectable and trustworthy candidate with my best interests in mind. Sadly though, some events have occurred recently that make me nervous about the GSB elections this year. As mentioned above, it is important that politicians act spontaneously and have the right intentions when taking action in office. Recently the campaign of Spencer Hughes and Hillary Kletscher decided to try and pass legislation that hardly made any changes to the policy they were trying to change. It seemed to just be an effort to get their names out there and use it as a campaign ploy. That’s not acting politically at all.

It should be the goal of the candidates to get their names flowing through the student body by acting among us, not simply by trying to pass bills that may get some publicity. If bills that have no real substance are trying to be passed now just because it’s campaign season, imagine what wastes of time could be occurring if those same individuals get elected in office.

Wouldn’t it be nice to see the face of and actually interact with Spencer Hughes or Dan Rediske before you make a decision to vote? What better way to find out if they’ll be a good fit for representing you than by talking to them? And they’re out there! Pay attention these next couple weeks, and get yourself informed. Don’t be blindsided by the publicity stunts and the popularity contests. Be a true citizen of this student body and go find out for yourself what each candidate stands for in this election. Try to ask them hard questions and see who can answer them best. Go to the debates and hear about each platform and why they personally chose to run on those goals. Be involved!

As student debt grows higher and tuition costs seem to be at an all-time high, and the decisions of GSB presidents become more crucial toward allocating our money properly, make sure that part of those fees you’re paying as a student are going toward a scholarship to an individual you personally endorse. With no accountability we will get a student government that has no politicians. Instead it will be full of the wannabe ones who may run our money in the wrong direction. Contrary to popular belief, politics can be a very good thing. If real politics was what usually occurred, we wouldn’t have this negativity.


Mackenzie Nading is a junior in political science from Elgin, Iowa.