Newcomers challenge insiders in MCSG election

By Peter Wright

Applications are in, and the candidates for Macalester College Student Government executive office now have less than a week before the election, which will be held on Wednesday, April 9 in the Campus Center from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.Henrik Hakonsen ’09, Alison Tray ’09 and Kevin Williams ’09 are running for the presidency. Eric Blom ’10 and Andrew Mirzayi ’10 are running for vice president. Martin Murdy ’09 and Owen Truesdell ’11 are the candidates to chair the Academic Affairs Commission.

Three of the executive offices have uncontested nominees. Lindsey Byrd ’09, Paul Maitland-McKinley ’09 and Alex James ’09 are the only candidates to chair the Student Services Commission, Program Board and Financial Affairs Commission respectively.

Of the ten candidates, only Blom, Murdy and Williams would be new to MCSG. MCSG Vice President Brian Stephenson ’10 said that his goal from the beginning of planning the elections had been to get as many people from outside of MCSG as possible to run because a “dark-horse candidate” makes the election more exciting.

Williams said that coming from outside of MCSG has allowed him to listen to a larger group of people who may not always have a chance to voice their opinions in student government.

“I feel like a lot of the problems have to do with representation,” he said.

Hakonsen, the current FAC chairperson who is now running for president, took a different stance, saying that his three years working with MCSG have prepared him because he knows how the system works.

Tray falls somewhere in between the other two presidential candidates because she has two years experience with MCSG. She said that having experience is helpful, but not essential to the office.

The deadline to register for a spot on the ballot was Saturday, giving candidates a week and a half to campaign.

So far campaigning has been largely electronic. Almost all of the candidates have started Facebook groups and events, which provide an easy way to advertise their positions to supporters who are already joining the election groups.

However, as the election draws nearer, more and more campaigning is moving off the Internet and onto the campus.

Mirzayi said he plans to take some time off from homework to visit all the freshmen lounges and talk to anyone there about what they consider important. Beyond that, he said that he may hang a few signs, but he hasn’t decided yet.

Similarly, Williams said that he would like to hold a couple meetings where students could have a casual discussion with him about what they want in a candidate.

Once elected, the new executive MCSG members will take office in about two weeks, Stephenson said. The election for sophomore, junior and senior representatives will take place in a couple of weeks.