After the VP candidates were done sparring, last nights debate shifted to the Executive candidates, Emily McLain and Sara Hamilton. Although the Exec debate was not quite the study in contrast that the VP debate was, there was still enough daylight between the candidates to provide undecided voters with a clear choice.
When asked what they could do about the fact that the ASUO is running huge surpluses while increasing the Incidental Fee, neither candidate had great answers. Hamilton talked about the importance of Ad-Hoc budgeting (such as special requests) in allocating surplus funds to the programs and projects most in need. McLain attributed the Administrations assumption of Career Center funding to her running mates efforts, and pointed to this type of move as the key to fiscal responsibility, along with PFC reform. McLain also attacked Hamilton for proposing the EMU Master Plan, saying it would cost $59 million. Hamilton responded by clarfiying that the Walsh Executive had actually put the Career Center victory in motion, and by stating that the EMU plan was a sustainability effort which would save money, and could be completed in stages as funds became available.
Both tickets supported the ADFCs electronic ticketing proposal, but Hamilton had a much better understanding of the process through which e-ticketing would be implimented, and the potential pitfalls of the system. McLain praised Senator Kyle McKenzie for leading on the issue, saying “I really want to talk about how I think that this is something that has to be addressed as comending the people who have done the work this year… I just want students to know where the credit is due.” McLain did fail to mention that the Senators who have been working on this proposal all year are unanimously supporting the Hamilton/Papailiou ticket.
On the issue of lobbying Salem with student dollars, Hamilton walked a fine line, saying that lobbying is an important effort, but that it is not simply a question of throwing money at Salem. McLain argued that lobbying is “one of the most important things we can do,” in what can only be called a self-flattering position for someone who has been lobbying all year. McLain attacked Hamilton for saying lobbying is “a joke,” and for interning at a Republican lawmakers office. Hamilton responded by pointing out that the legislature would only be in session for one month next year, and refused to dignify the Republican jab with comment. “The ASUO has been spending money on lobbying for 15 years, and the numbers don’t lie: tuition has still gone up” said Hamilton, “Athan and I will work on campus issues.”
When McLain was asked whether or not the ASUO needed ethics reform (a question which originated with this blogger), she made it clear that she did support the idea. Unfortunately, her words were undermined by the fact that Senator Gulley was present in full boorish form, coughing “bullshit” and making obscene hand gestures during Hamilton and Papailiou’s speeches, while wearing an “Emily and San” T-shirt. If McLain condones the actions of Gulley to the point where she wants him representing her campaign, one can only question her commitment to ethics on Senate, given that Gulley has single-handedly created the need for clear ethics rules.
Unlike the VP debate, both candidates spoke clearly and intelligibly, but there were still marked differences in presentation and image. If we need an Executive who can simply get the maximum volume of words out in a given time period, McLain is the only choice. Her delivery was dense and rapid-fire, like a policy debater or an auctioneer, making all of her points seem like filler, regardless of their validity. Even her good points were lost in an endless, uninterupted wall of words. Hamilton, in sharp contrast, was short and to the point, almost to an extreme. Her abbreviated answers did not, however, bely a lack of understanding of the issues though. She was comfortable with every topic, and did not waste time on platitudes, but cut right to the crux of the issues and delivered succinct positions. Like last weeks primary results, this final debate cemented the Hamilton/Papailiou tickets status as front runners, and the most qualified for the position of ASUO Executive.
See video footage from the ODE here.