Meet the A.S. Presidential Candidates
Spring has arrived, meaning another election period for Santa Monica College's Associated Students board. Last year's elections were surrounded by controversy, centering on the Associated Student's constitution. Without any controversies to deter attention, this year's elections can focus on the issues at hand.
The word on many students' tongues is progress. With the magnitude of US President Barack Obama's election still fresh in people's minds, the importance of voter participation cannot be denied.
This year's A.S. elections are taking place from April 27 - 30, with students having the options to vote either on campus or online. According to the school's website, voters are eligible to win a number of prizes, including a laptop, an iPod, a bike and an SMC bookstore certificate.
Only two students, Kevin Kerr and current A.S. Student Trustee Cameron Henton, have taken the steps necessary in a bid for the presidency.
Film major and Filmmakers Club president Kerr is a Texas native who is a member of Alpha Gamma Sigma, and has been at SMC since Fall 2008. Political Science major and Student Veterans Association co-founder Henton is an Alaska native and former Marine who has been a student at SMC for over two years.
Q&A with Current Candidates for A.S. President
Why are you running?
Henton: "I'm running for A.S. president because I am the current Student Trustee. In the last couple of years I'm constantly here at the school, like 8:00 to 7:00 everyday. I've learned much, I've developed a lot of relationships, and I want to use that for the students.
Kerr: "I'm running for president because I have a lot of management experience to offer the student body. I can make things better for all students. I can make things more interactive through videos. I can be there for you guys when you need me to make this SMC a better school, a more reputable school, so we can all transfer out of here successfully, and be successful in our careers that we choose."
What current issues are important to you?
Henton: "Efficiency and organization of the A.S. as a whole. Financial assistance is needed across the board. I feel the economy will probably get worse before it gets better."
"There's the new fiscal policy that the A.S. has developed; it's kind of clunky right now. It's a process for fairly administrating funds to the different clubs for the different events that they want to do. There needs to be amendments to that fiscal policy to improve its efficiency."
"I'm currently working on the renovation of the Cayton Center. The idea is to make the area more organized and efficient so that the members of A.S. can be more organized and efficient."
Kerr: "The most important issue is scholarships. That's where I'm going to be spending most of our money. Getting people who need support, we're going to get them support that they need to succeed. The more success that those people have, the more success our college will have as a whole.
"Keeping the Big Blue Bus line open is my second priority. Parking is a big issue here. So we're going to get that free bus for you guys so you guys can take the bus whenever you want, however you want."
What can students expect from you?
Henton: "ASSIST is our campaign slate name. It stands for Activities, Scholarships, Sustainability, Inter-club council, Service, and Teamwork. So it's kind of a dedication to those principles. We're going to do our best to assist anyone and everyone. We're there to serve."
Kerr: "Students can expect to see me lowering the costs of their textbooks. Whenever I'm elected for president, I will organize a textbook trade week, first week of school, where you guys can swap textbooks directly with other students. So you won't have to take your textbooks back to the bookstore and lose $70 on each used textbook that you return."
What experience (political or other) do you have?
Henton: As a student trustee I'm a voice for the A.S. and the student body at large on the board of trustees. I do my best to be a liaison between the board of trustees as well as the students here."
"I was in the Marine Corps for four years and three months. I was an infantry machine gunner. I got a better understanding of the world as a whole. I think of everything outside of the box. Just being able to get the job done no matter what, you adapt and overcome, and do what needs to be done to achieve the goals."
Kerr: "I have a ton of leadership experience. When I was 13 years old I started working for my father at Mail Boxes Etc. passing out flyers. I used to ride my bicycle two miles everyday to pass out flyers. After three years of doing that I became the manager of that store. I was very successful and the business flourished."
"After that I moved on to a bank. I worked for Washington Mutual for two years. I handled almost $10,000 on daily basis responsibly. I was also around a lot of environments where I know how to make money work for money."
View on the seated A.S.? What will you do about it next year?
Henton: "There's been a number of measures that the current A.S. has done and I'd like to continue those goals, as well as develop others. We've developed the A.S. goals and objectives, which I would like to be a tradition throughout the years. You're always going to have little conflicts between certain people here and there, but overall as a group we've done a lot in terms doing the best we can for student representation."
"We've got to review the current budget, to see what it is we can change about different aspects of that."
"There's a lot of shared governance committees on campus where there is low student participation. Students can represent the student body at large by going to these committees and help develop policies for whatever that committee is about. We're working on an actual hierarchical format that shows what those committees are, who serves on them, how to contact them."
Kerr: "The A.S. body is a great student body. They work hard for you guys right now. You see them out there and they're always hosting these activities and events. They're the ones who got the new student website going on. I'm going to keep that website going on for you guys and I'm going to add to it. I'm going to add new videos that are going to allow the people to know about clubs. Whenever a new club gets installed, you'll be able to see what the club is all about by going to the website and clicking on the link. It's going to be more attractive to get more students attracted to the group."
So, how do you get to campus?
Henton: I drive a Volkswagen Jetta TDI; it's a diesel. I get over 40 miles to the gallon. It's a couple of miles away. There have been times where I've rode my bike, but that depends on what I'm doing."
Kerr: "I usually park at the off-site lots on the AET campus and I take the Sunset bus ride. Sometimes I park over at the Madison campus and take the shuttle."
What's your favorite spot on campus?
Henton: "I always find myself in the A.S. office doing work, but I do enjoy the new quad. It's really hard for me to say that I have a favorite with certain things, because a lot of times it depends on the mood and what you're doing. I enjoy the library at times because it's quiet and you can find your own little niche in there. With the quad outside, especially at this time of year, it's nice just to be out there in the breeze."
Kerr: "My favorite spot on campus recently has definitely been the quad. It's got the nice set-up there. There's so many people there that I can interact with."
"Sometimes whenever I feel like being more alone I come out by the clock tower and I sit down in the shade."
What has your favorite class been?
Henton: "I might have to say right now because it's fresher in my memory, my English 2 class with Philip Daughtry. He has a class theme of transformation and initiation. It's a lot about how cultures have developed over thousands of years. I've really enjoyed that a lot."
Kerr: "Definitely my favorite class has been Prof. Gorgie, Political Science 51. He taught me so much about politics, he taught me about understanding deep political philosophy."