Three candidates vie for Senate president
There are three current UW-River Falls Student Senate members on the ballot for the Senate presidential election, and other candidates are not expected to enter the race.
The three students who have completed their petition to get their name on the ballot to run for Senate president are current Ethics Chair Sam Tauchen, Facilities and Fees (F&F) Board Chair Dominic Riel and Director of Legislative Affairs Riley Haynes.
“It’s hard to say, my guess is that no one else will run just because these three are all currently on Senate right now so they all have experience being involved with Senate and the president is such a huge responsibility,” said Elections Commissioner Hannah Carlson. “It’s possible but not probable.”
Carlson explained that the position of Senate president is a lot of hard work and that person is very busy. The president has to stay in contact with the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents and all of the UW System schools. They also have to run all of the meetings with Senate, make sure what Senate is doing is legal and by the bylaws and it is his/her responsibility to make sure everything is running smoothly and ethically.
Tauchen feels leadership is a very crucial part of campus and believes that he can be an effective leader if he were to get voted in as Senate president.
“I’ve had a lot of experience with FFA as well as I’ve interned at the state capital, and I feel that I can offer assistance with providing a structured Senate that will be able to be very efficient and effective,” Tauchen said. “I’m really excited to offer my expertise but also draw from other people’s opinions.”
Tauchen said he has five main points that he’s looking to run with for Senate president. Those are: increase enrollment, student and faculty retention, engaging a productive Senate, creating a well campus, and effective and efficient spending.
“Being clear with what we are doing on Senate is going to be a very crucial part of acting as a student body because we have to represent the student body and there shouldn’t be any secrets,” Tauchen said.
Haynes has also had leadership experience and said that he decided to run for Senate president because he enjoys serving his community and the best way he can is by being the president of Senate.
“I think I’d do a really great job because I’ve always been really committed and dedicated to serving the students and representing all of the students,” Haynes said. “I really enjoy gathering the thoughts and opinions of my constituents. And talking to different students about different issues that come up.”
Haynes said that one of his goals as Senate president would be to increase the level of communication between students and Senate to get a better picture of what their needs and desires are out of the campus, and what they are looking for from college life.
“I’m really looking forward to the upcoming election and campaigning and I’m really confident that the students are going to elect the best candidate,” Haynes said. “So I’m hoping next year I can continue to be on Senate and especially as Student Senate president.”
Riel, who is also running for Senate president, said he decided to run because he’s been getting requests from students, faculty, senators, non-senators and administration to run for the position.
“I think, for me, the biggest thing that makes me a good candidate is all my experience on Student Senate,” Riel said. “I work a lot with the chairs of the student advisory committees just through the F&F Board so I have that connection with the Residence Hall Association, Dining Services, Student Health Services, Rec and Sports, and athletics. So I have a pretty broad connection on campus with students.”
Riel said that one thing he would like to do for campus as Senate president would be to work on making Senate more visible to students and making sure that they are aware of what Senate does and how it is going to affect them.
“If Student Senate loses that connection with students then the Senate is not representing the students very well,” Riel said. “President Bobbi O’Brien has done an excellent job this year, but I think that there is still a lot of work to be done.”
Each of the candidates will have a chance to show students their views and how they plan to be a successful Senate president if they are elected at the presidential debate being held from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, April 1, in the Falcon’s Nest. Carlson asked O’Brien to mediate the debate.
“People are welcome to come and just snack and get to know the people running,” Carlson said. “I’m going to highly encourage everyone who is running, not just the presidential candidates, to be there so that people have a chance to meet them and it’s free campaigning for them as well.”
As of Wednesday, March 20, these are the only three candidates who have completed their petition to get their name on the ballot for the Senate presidential elections. Students are able to submit their petitions until 4:30 p.m. Friday, March 22.