The winner of the 2013 Associated Students Inc. presidential election is Moses Menchaca, who received a total of 845 votes.
Photo by Roe Borunda / The Collegian
ASI elections full of landslides, upsets and close calls
After weeks of campaigning and three days of record-setting voting, the 2013 Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) elections have reached an end, and the Fresno State student body has a new president: Moses Menchaca.
This year’s election set a record for the highest voter turnout with 1,912 votes cast out of an eligible 20,286 students (9.43 percent).
Menchaca received 845 out of a total 1,773 votes (47 percent) for president, beating out opponents Jose Nava and Lucas Lundy, who garnered 496 and 432 votes, respectively.
“Well, it is a distinct honor, especially coming into Fresno State and reflecting now, and realizing that I will be the voice of so many students is something that you can’t describe in words,” Moses said. “I’m glad that campaigning season is over, because now I can stop focusing on self and start looking at the larger student body and find out what is really the need of the students and start advocating best for them.”
Moses said that all of the work the campaigning process was stressful, but that it was all worth it in the end.
“I was prepared for a certain level of it, but definitely not the level at which it did come, especially the last Sunday, Monday and actual voting time,” Moses said. “Just the amount of stress and joy, confusion, and all of that – the level of that far surpasses anything I think most people can even prepare for.”
One of the main focuses of the new ASI president will be to work closely with the new incoming university president, who will succeed current president John Welty at the end of the semester.
“I’ve actually talked briefly with the current president, and he kind of let me know what to expect,” Moses said. “Just from the sound of it, it sounds like I have a lot of work ahead of me, and I’m looking forward to it.”
Sean Kiernan will retain his position as vice president of external affairs with 54 percent of the votes, with newcomer Jordan Ott receiving 45 percent.
Kiernan was the first person serve in the position, which was approved in spring 2012, and ran unopposed in last year’s election, making this the first real race for the seat.
“I’m honored to be elected to continue serving as the executive vice president,” Kiernan said. “To everyone who took an interest in ASI and voted, I say thank you.”
Though the new ASI representatives will not officially take office until June, the current-term officers, like Kiernan, feel that there is still plenty of work to be accomplished.
“What’s most important of all here is that the first term isn’t done. We still have two, three more months here, and with over 20 bills in Sacramento directly impacting education, the governor’s budget with its proposed increased funding, and many lobbying visits in the California Higher Education Summit coming up, my colleagues and I are back to work,” he said. “We were happy today, but there is really no time to celebrate, and we’re back to work. I think it’s important for us to focus on finishing up our first term strong.”
“Toward the end of my term and the beginning of my next term, myself and my colleagues and the Legislative Affairs Committee will be working very hard to make sure the money Governor Brown has proposed to grant the CSU is actually adopted by the Legislature,” Kiernan said.
Rebecca Rosengarten will also keep her position of vice president of finance in a landslide 95-to-5 percent win over Gustavo Chavez.
The senator at-large positions, which are filled by the candidates with the top eight most votes, were led in votes by newcomer Daniel Ward (788 votes), incumbent Parmita Choudhury (785 votes) and Kaitlyn McNicholas (729 votes), along with five others.
The race for the No. 8 spot was decided by a single vote, with current Senator of Parking and Safety Neil O’Brien losing his position to Ralph Ruiz with 523 and 524 votes, respectively.
“It’s been historically known that the decisive vote has only been a handful of votes, and that’s been with every campus election we’ve had for however long,” O’Brien said.
Though he will not have an official position, O’Brien said he will continue to share his voice on campus.
“I’ve still got time on the campus. I mean, I’m not going away,” he said. “I’m still going to be doing my own thing. It’s been great serving on the ASI Senate representing students, and it’s been fun.”
“The issues we fight that are important, the students’ rights, and that has nothing to do with whether you hold a seat in student government or not,” O’Brien said. “That’s what people need to understand, is that you can come from any point of direction on the campus and have a voice and affect change.”
The eight elected senators at-large will later vote among themselves to name one senator to the executive vice president position.