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Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Student Government

Wilson, Jackson win runoff

Student Government Association Vice President Prince Wilson and Johnnie Jackson were elected to represent the student body in the 47th administration as president and vice president after defeating Director of Finance Carlos Reyes and Matt Davis in last week’s runoff election. | Courtesy of Prince Wilson

Student Government Association Vice President Prince Wilson defeated Carlos Reyes in last week’s presidential runoff election, recording 56.6 percent of the votes to claim the top executive spot.

“I’m obviously happy that I won, but students are the final decision maker,” Wilson said. “There’s still a lot of work to do, and a lot we’ve yet to accomplish. Getting elected was the easy part.”

Wilson will replace SGA president Kenneth Fomunung on Thursday. Johnnie Jackson, meanwhile, was elected to fill Wilson’s role of vice president.

Wilson and Jackson received 1,118 of the 1,997 votes from last Wednesday and Thursday’s runoff, while SGA Director of Finance Reyes and running mate Matthew Davis earned 859 votes (43.4 percent).

Wilson, a biochemistry senior, finished first with 35 percent of the votes in the March 8-11 general election, but was forced into a runoff with Reyes because no candidate earned a majority of the votes.

Wilson thanked his voters and expressed relief that a month of vigorous campaigning had come to a close. But he believes his campaign strategy wasn’t the main reason for his success.

“Students and organizations know who I am and what my work ethic is,” Wilson said. “I know I didn’t win because of one month’s campaign. It’s taken years to gain that trust from students, and that’s why I got elected.”

Reyes, a finance and administration senior and former business senator, emphasized school spirit, security and parking as his top objectives along with Davis.

Reyes said he expected a closer runoff result, but expressed confidence that Wilson would perform well in his new role.

“I’ve worked with Prince, and I know how he operates. He’s a very smart kid and a really hard worker, so I know SGA will be in good hands,” he said.

Reyes offered suggestions for Wilson, citing school spirit as the area he believes needs the most improvement. During the campaign, Reyes suggested that $500 in scholarships be offered to students at every home football gamein an attempt to increase students’ interest in athletics while  easing their financial burden.

Reyes also said that SGA needs to work toward increasing trasnsparency, especially with students.

“SGA needs to do less legislation and more tangible things for students to experience,” Reyes said. “I was struck by the amount of people who didn’t even know what SGA was while campaigning. Let’s show (students) what SGA is about while getting them to love their school more.”

Wilson said he’s reviewed all the candidates’ campaign promises, including Reyes’, and will consider them as ideas he can put into practice as president.

Fomunung endorsed Wilson’s campaign, but expressed his hope that Wilson can implement some of Reyes’ proposed agenda.

While reflecting on his own “rollercoaster” year as SGA president, in what he described as a tense political climate, Fomunung said he is confident in the newly elected senators and Wilson’s ability to lead them.

“One aspect of his personality that will serve Prince well is his affinity for research,” he said. “I’ve seen him in the office, reading SGA bylaws from two or three decades ago. He’s a historian and a workhorse, and I’m proud of him.”

Wilson plans to hold a SGA retreat April 10 to review the agenda and “ensure everyone knows what to do.” In the meantime, Wilson said he would continue to prepare himself and his administration so they can properly serve the students.

“There are a lot of things we can correct in SGA and a lot of things we can continue that were successful,” he said. “I’ll be working to put together a successful cabinet and making sure we have the right people in place so we can work together for all the students.”

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