Nov 022005
Authors: Lee Newville

It may not cost as much to become the next ASCSU president next year.

The ASCSU Senate initiated the first round of debate on Wednesday over a new bill that would lower the spending limit of presidential and vice presidential candidates from $2,000 to $1,000.

Natural Sciences senator Erik Healey authored the bill, which ushers in the second year in a row that decreases the spending limit of campaigners.

"It's been one of those topics that comes up every year," Healey said. "We can't seem to get away from it"

Healey argued that the limit was so high that it put students with less money at a disadvantage. He said that the best way to give disadvantaged students more opportunities to compete in the election was to lower the spending limit.

"In my eyes, every student should be allowed or should have the opportunity to run for president or vice president," Healey said. "In order to be competitive, you need to be able to spend close to your limit and $2000 is really excessive. I don't know a single person who can drop $2000 today on something they wanted to."

Healey didn't believe that a lower spending limit would hinder the spirit of the campaigning process by restricting the ways candidates could gather attention.

"In my experiences with campaigns, to do enough that is necessary to get the word out you could do it in under $1000 dollars. I figured that 1000 is kind of a nice place for it (the spending limit). I feel from my experiences that you could run it in $1000," Healey said. "So that's where I kind of got the dollar amount."

Natural sciences senator Mike Watson supported the proposed $1000 spending cap but cautioned about further lowering the limit. He argued that, by lowering the limit and decreasing the amount of money that each candidate has to spend to be competitive, more people who are less serious about the position would run for election, while people who are willing to put in the effort to raise election funds would lose that opportunity to showcase their determination.

"I like this bill, I think it's a good number," Watson said. He cautioned, however, "you go any lower and next thing you know, one frat house gets together and tries to make it a popularity contest. "

Many senators cited the amount of effort required to raise funds as an indicator of how successful a candidate might be if elected.

"If somebody wants to run for president, $2000 isn't an inordinate amount of money to raise," said liberal arts senator Taylor Dunn. "I'd like to see someone that's serious enough to get those donations, to fight for the money to make themselves competitive."

Business senator Audrey LeSalle agreed with Dunn's argument.

"At what point will people start entering into the election who don't want it just because it's not a big sacrifice to do so?" she said.

Agricultural sciences senator Jennifer Debes also noted candidates would have to be more creative with their money to compensate for the smaller budget.

"It does cause the people who are running to be a little more creative on what they're spending their money on," Debes said. "I have to stick with the $1000 limit."

A second debate will follow before the Senate votes the bill on.

 Posted by at 6:00 pm

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