Turk touts experience

Jonathan Turk, junior in political science and sociology, and running mate Chandra Peterson, junior in political science and philosophy, Sunday at the Memorial Union. Photo: Logan Gaedke/Iowa State Daily

Logan Gaedke

Jonathan Turk, junior in political science and sociology, and running mate Chandra Peterson, junior in political science and philosophy, Sunday at the Memorial Union. Photo: Logan Gaedke/Iowa State Daily

Alissa Atkinson —

Government of the Student Body presidential candidate and speaker of the senate Jon Turk, junior in political science, and Campustown senator Chandra Peterson, junior in political science, have already begun the work of the next president and vice president of GSB.

“I’m not promising you that I will do something, I’ve already started doing it,” Peterson said.

Turk and Peterson have met with several student organizations to discuss their goals for the future.

Organization, planning and solid efforts describe the duos campaign thus far.

Since Jan. 26, the first day the candidates could begin campaigning, Turk-Peterson have had an established platform and have made their Web site public for all to read their ideas and provide feedback.

The Turk-Peterson campaign said they believe they are a diverse slate that would represent the entire university well.

“I’m older than Chandra, I’ve lived in the greek community and she’s lived in the residence halls and in Campustown,” Turk said.

Peterson agreed.

“Jon has a lot of experience with the rules, procedure and bylaws of GSB, while I am the vice chair of the finance committee so I have an in-depth experience in finance and policies,” Peterson said.

Turk said he and Peterson have “all of the experience our opponent seems to have,” and then some.

Combined, the pair has nearly five years of experience in GSB. Turk has served on the inter-fraternity council and Liberal Arts and Sciences student council, while Peterson has been involved with the Campustown Student Association.

Peterson said that she and Turk work well as a team.

“We have our differences, but every good team has differences,” she said. “As opposed to two people with the same resume like our opponents.”

Peterson said she believes Boggess and Haskin are the hard workers they say they are.

“But at the same time it doesn’t matter how hard you work, it still took me a year to understand everything about how GSB works.”

Turk added that the biggest weakness of the Boggess-Haskin slate is “their overall lack of an effective and accomplishable plan to reach their goals.”

He said they’ve chosen to address issues that will pull at the heartstrings of students.

Turk gave the example of how he and Peterson won’t claim to be able to take away from athletic scholarships and give it to other students, as Boggess said he would at the first debate.

“He didn’t retract his statement until I explained that it was not feasible after speaking with the department of athletics,” Turk said.

Both Peterson and Turk said neither Boggess nor Haskin have attended a GSB meeting.

Jeff Edwards, senior in finance, and candidate for GSB vice president last spring, had never been involved in GSB, Turk said.

“[But Edwards] attended several meetings to learn about the process.”

Turk said that he gives the Boggess-Haskin campaign credit for bringing up the issue of student safety. However, he said that in the recent GSB survey, the majority of the respondents said they feel safe on campus. Boggess-Haskin has raised concern over the fact that 3,734 safety escorts were requested in 2008, but “there is a difference between not feeling safe and students being cautious,” Peterson said.

Additionally, the Reader’s Digest survey Boggess and Haskin refer to when suggesting Iowa State is not as safe as we might think, is inaccurate in Gene Deisinger’s opinion. In a previous interview, Deisinger, assistant director of public safety, said the reason Iowa State is ranked that way is because the Department of Public Safety never completed the survey.

He said questions were poorly designed so they didn’t answer all of them. Deisinger said they asked Reader’s Digest not to publish Iowa State in the results.

Turk said we should always be cautious, but he isn’t convinced that GSB should be allocating student fee money to campus safety when the results of the Reader’s Digest survey may be inaccurate and the GSB survey shows that students feel safe on campus.

In response to the remarks made by Boggess-Haskin about Turk and Peterson’s Campustown goals, Peterson asked, “What do they expect two Campustown senators to do?”

Peterson said that to suggest the Urban Neighborhood Development Program would in any way eliminate bars from Campustown or use student fee money to pay for it is “ridiculous.”

She said they recently formed a business coalition with Campustown, which proposes that GSB and the Ames City Council will work together to improve Campustown, but improvements will be funded by the City Council.

“We will bring in an urban developer that will tell us what we need to add to make Campustown a better place,” Peterson said.

She said they hope to add clothing stores and a grocery store to Campustown. She added that the urban developer would survey the Ames community to find out which businesses the area needs to prosper as a community.

Peterson said the city council is optimistic of the initiative and Turk said that he and Peterson believe Campustown is too important for GSB to ignore.

Both Turk and Peterson agreed that the Fischer-Luttrell administration has accomplished many things this year.

Peterson said she believes the current administration took the first step in increased communication.

Turk said this is the third administration he has worked with and every administration talked about keeping costs down, but this year there were great strides taken to increase awareness of the financial literacy course and under the leadership of director Alyssa Staley, senior in political science, lobbying was heavily increased.

“They’ve done so much work that Channel 5 News from Des Moines came to interview Maggie and I the other day,” Peterson said.

The one thing Turk and Peterson agreed they would have changed is the speed in which everything was accomplished, much of which was out of the control of Daniel Fischer, GSB president and senior in agricultural business, and Maggie Luttrell, vice president and senior in history, they said.

“Because we are already working and we will be in Ames this summer, we won’t have that problem,” Peterson said.

Turk said that if only $1,000 was given to GSB, he would use it to help develop lobbying efforts at the state house and work to increase awareness of the financial aid office and Financial Counseling Clinic.

He said $1,000 would not be nearly enough to allocate it to student organizations, so he’d use it for things that would benefit the entire student body.

Last year’s Veishea parade was Turk’s favorite memory of his ISU experience because he realized how involved he has been. He said he ran through the parade three times. He ran for his fraternity, greek affairs and the LAS student council. “I want to show students that there are a lot of organizations to get involved with on campus that will help with leadership and personal development,” he said. “I want them to know how life altering it is to get involved.”

Turk said that after establishing the cabinet, they would work diligently to address the issue of student debt. He said they would make it known that a rise in tuition is not acceptable, and they will work on the tuition and fee recommendation to the Regents.

Peterson said she will always listen to people’s suggestions and said if a student sees her she encourages them to stop her and talk to her.

“If you have a concern, I can’t promise I’ll be able to fix it,” she said. “But if I can’t, I can promise to be able to point you to the people who can.”


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