Blake Stagner, junior, patiently waited in the University Y as current ASUWT members tallied student votes for the next student leaders of UWT. With 303 votes, Stagner won the election and will be next year’s Director of Legislative Affairs, a position Sam Ranslem, senior, currently holds.
The story isn’t that Stagner won the position, rather, how he did it.
Throughout the years there has been many instances where candidates for ASUWT have ran unopposed, leaving students two options on their voter cards: to vote for the candidate, or to not vote for the position at all.
Last year, as an example, the Director of Finance, Bronwyn Clarke, and the Director of Student Technology, John Poore, both won positions in office without an opponent.
Stagner says that his campaign experience did differ from other candidates: “The other students I noticed made face-time more. I didn’t really do a lot of that. I did have the most flyers up; my name was everywhere compared to everyone else.”
Although he was running without competition, Stagner never felt more comfortable in his position as a candidate, saying, “I hung out with [Sam Ranslem] a decent amount, I went to every one of the LAC [Legislative Action Committee] meetings. No other student was more qualified for the position.” Stagner says that he “learned the ropes” from Ranslem.
“I honestly wished [the campaign] was a little longer. We only had a week, where last year’s members had two. But campaigning in general, it was okay, it is kind of hard to talk to students, especially at UWT because there is only a couple of blocks where everyone is outside. And it’s a commuter school so everyone is coming in at different times,” says Stagner.
He says that he had to strategically plan the times he was going to campus to talk to all the students he could. He would come during the morning and night. He would also come to campus on days he was not scheduled for school to talk to people he would have otherwise not seen.
While in office, Stagner hopes to get a lot of things accomplished. He says that he will work all summer long on his plans for the school year. “This year, during session I want to hit up a lot of legislatures. They did a great job in getting connections this past year, but I want to do better,” says Stagner. “I want to tell them our concerns, but not only what our concerns are but the solutions for our concerns.”
He says that there probably is a stigma related to being voted in unopposed but he wants to promote change by getting students from all majors involved in the political process. “For next year during LAC I want a lot of people in LAC. I want it to be really inclusive; I want more action in the senate as well. I will try to get a more diverse academic group of students. We need a diversity in opinion.” He believes that, once a more diverse group of students become active in the LAC process, it will result in more students running for student government positions.
“I’ve been preparing for this position since the end of fall quarter. Now I can start planning for next year; I am relieved. Now I can get started on what I want to do,” says Stagner.