Candidates face off in first executive debate

Steven Brittain

Candidates for the Government of the Student Body executive seats squared off in the first debate of the election season Monday night during a televised event sponsored by ISU9.The presidential and vice-presidential tandems: Andy Tofilon and Charlie Johnson, Bing Howell and Zach Eakman, Jeff Mayes and Stephanie Vinton and registered write-in candidates Matt Welk and Shelley Smith, all took part in the debate.Each slate was allowed to present its campaign platform in a two-minute opening remark before answering questions from students in the audience.Vinton, sophomore in public service and administration in agriculture, said she and running mate, Mayes, junior in animal science, will focus on student involvement on campus in GSB and other activities.”We want to let the students know that if you want your voice to be heard, you have to step up and let it be known,” Vinton said. “We want to know how can we help the quiet students become outspoken and how we can guide students to take an active role.”Tofilon, junior in journalism and mass communication, and Charlie Johnson, junior in political science, stressed the importance of their past experience in GSB. Tofilon, director of inter-governmental affairs, and Johnson, speaker of the senate, each have two years of experience with student government.”We both were there to fight the tuition increase, and I helped to come up with the tax-free textbook exemption,” Tofilon said. “We have the experience on the government. We will know exactly what will be going on from the very first day.”Tofilon and Johnson said, if elected, their main areas of focus would be fighting tuition increases, making the campus safer for students and maximizing the potential of CyRide.Howell, junior in management information systems, and Eakman, sophomore in psychology, said they will take a less traditional approach to fighting the tuition increases and to their entire platform in general. Instead of opposing tuition increases, Howell and Eakman propose accepting the fact that tuition is going to go up, and looking instead to the legislature to provide more money to students in the form of grants and scholarships.Eakman said he and Howell also plan to address the establishment of a multicultural center and the issues concerning the greek community and to open the lines of communication between the students and GSB.”We are looking to start a committee called Your Voice, which will be a catalyst between the students and the university,” Eakman said. “Bing and myself will personally go around to as many club, floor and house meetings as possible to hear what it is that the students find important.”The only write-in tandem participating in the debate was the duo of Welk, junior in exercise and sport science, and Smith, junior in animal science. Their platform also consists of placing an emphasis on the impending tuition increases and the establishment of a multicultural center. However, Smith said their main goal is to “improve the Cyclone experience” for as many students as possible.”What we really want to come from these positions is for every student to get the most out of their Iowa State experience,” she said. “We want to go out to the students and let them know what we are here for and, if they want to, we want them to know exactly how they can get in touch with us.”Welk said it is important for him and Smith to go out to the students.”When the students are asking what is GSB, then we know that it is pretty obvious that GSB isn’t taking the necessary steps to get to the students,” he said.