Executive debates reveal personal side of candidates

Whitney Sager

A more personal side of the Government of the Student Body president and vice president candidates was brought out during the first of two electoral debates to be held this week.

Jessica Bruning and Dan Voss are running against Dakota Hoben and Jared Knight for GSB president and vice president, respectively.

Aside from being asked about their campaign platform and the issues each team feels are important, audience members posed some questions that dug a little deeper in order to find out what each candidate is like.

Candidates were asked how he or she would respond to someone saying GSB is pointless.

Hoben said government is necessary in order to provide organization.

“If you think it’s inefficient now, think of what it would be like without it,” Hoben said.

The GSB distributes $1.8 million in funding that is generated through student activities fees to clubs and organizations on campus. Hoben said that without those funds, clubs and organizations would not be able to partake in many of the learning activities they hold throughout the year.

“There’s only so much learning done in the classroom, so much more is done outside of the classroom through competitive trips, competitions, so we really want to see student support through those types of things by really getting their student fees back,” Hoben said.

Bruning said the negative feelings toward GSB come from students’ lack of knowledge about GSB.

“It stems from not knowing what is available to them,” Bruning said.

Bruning and Voss plan to address this issue by making sure students are informed of what is going on with GSB. Voss said, if elected, they will work with the Iowa State Daily more closely in order to keep students informed.

“It’s a vital part of campus and we want to make sure that they get all the information they need from us and then whenever we need to make some information available to students that that is done,” Voss said.

Candidates were also asked to explain a service project that they’ve been involved in during the last six months, not for a title, but solely for the individual.

Hoben has been serving a family in Nevada through the church he attends this past summer and school year.

The family includes a single mom and her two children. Hoben said he helps them out in whatever way he can, which allows the mother to get some things done while Hoben is watching over the children.

“It’s just been a blessing to be involved in those kids’ life as well as to just serve the mother in whatever way I possibly can,” Hoben said.

Knight serves as a peer mentor for a third-grader at Edwards Elementary School. He said the child he mentors has a tough time at home and really enjoys school and spending time with Knight.

“The best part of my week is always walking in to Mrs. Allen’s class and seeing his face light up when he sees me,” Knight said.

Bruning said she has been working with the group 50/50 in 2020. The goal of the organization is to encourage more women to become involved in politics.

“What we’re trying to do is bridge the gap between men and women in central politics,” Bruning said. “It’s definitely something that I’m passionate about as a woman in politics.”

Voss’ community service is not limited to one activity. During the past six months he has volunteered through his church, worked with international students, participated in Dance Marathon and walked dogs at the animal shelter in Nevada.

“That was an awesome time,” Voss said of volunteering at the animal shelter. “You just go and they’ll let you go walk a dog.”

The candidates were also asked about their favorite ISU tradition.

Bruning said she has been attending VEISHEA ever since she was born and has only missed attending once: the year her junior prom was the same weekend.

As a Cyclone sports fanatic, Voss said his favorite ISU tradition is watching basketball games in Cyclone Alley. He said he loves basketball and the atmosphere of Cyclone Alley.

“It’s a great time and I wish more students would go to basketball games,” Voss said.

Hoben belongs to FarmHouse fraternity and enjoys participating in Homecoming and Greek Week activities. The competitive environment and the activities that go on are what make these two weeks a favorite.

As another Cyclone sports fanatic, Knight enjoys running down the stairs at Cyclone football games. Though he said it can be dangerous, it is still a lot of fun.

“There’s nothing like a Cyclone football game,” Knight said.

Another question posed to the candidates asked them to identify their biggest weakness coming in to office.

For Bruning, her weakness is not being able to pinpoint specific issues on campus. That is why she chose Voss as a running mate, because he is able to make up for her lack of strength in this area.

“Dan is really good at pinpointing the issue and I feel like I’m better at knowing who to call to make sure we get that issue resolved,” Bruning said.

A lack of organization skills is what Voss identified as his weakness, but he feels that Bruning will make up for this since she is “definitely more organized” than him.

Hoben and Knight both identified their weakness as an inability to say “no.” Both are passionate about helping others and sometimes will volunteer too much of their time that they cannot get everything done that they need to.

“Anytime that somebody needs help, I’m always willing to go work for them and that’s kind of created difficulties in scheduling and led to some sleepless nights,” Knight said. “Part of being a student leader on campus is helping out whoever you can. So while it’s a weakness, it’s also a strength.”

A second electoral debate will be held at 5 p.m. Thursday in the Gallery Room of the Memorial Union. Candidates for GSB senator positions will take part in the debate.