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Tuesday, June 25, 2019

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New SGA president vows to wow with her policies


SGA President Allison Lawrence took over Monday as the 56th Administration saw its first official day in office. | Corbin Ayres/The Cougar

With the shelves cleared and board erased, Allison Lawrence walked into her new office for the first time since she was elected student body president by more than twice the votes of her closest competitor.

Lawrence, a political science junior, was a CLASS senator before she was appointed chief of staff during the 55th Administration. She ran with the Students Unite party on a platform of pushing a green campus, increasing student wages and increasing the variety of health insurance the Student Health Center accepts.

“People who were in SGA at the time took me under their wing and were like, ‘Hey, you should apply and get appointed first and see how you like it,’ and so I did,” Lawrence said. “Then I became chief of staff, and now I’m president.”

Lawrence, a Houston native, wanted to be a meteorologist when she grew up. In high school, she participated in model United Nations and art.

“When I first joined SGA, it felt like I was the only woman in a leadership role and a lot of meetings. I remember being in meetings with Cameron (Barrett), Davis (Mendoza Darusman) and administrators, and I was the only girl there,” Lawrence said. “There were times where people would literally say, ‘Oh you bring the female perspective,’ ‘Oh you’re the woman in the room so you can tell us things from the woman’s perspective.’”

Her first step into politics happened her freshman year of college when she became an ambassador to the Women and Gender Resource Center and LGBTQ Resource Center and lobbied at the U.S. Capitol on behalf of UH.

“I love advocating, and I love policy, this just feels right,” Lawrence said. “And I feel excited and like I can apply myself.”

Executive positions in her administration are not yet filled but will be appointed at the next SGA Senate meeting, and she hopes her cabinet will be appointed.

We’ve been doing interviews since the election results (were announced),” Lawrence said. “We’ve been interviewing people for the past three weeks. I’m glad it’s over.

Lawrence and her vice president, Maysarah Kazia, knew each other for one year, officially, the night they became the president- and vice president-elects.

The duo is the first female-female ticket to be elected to SGA’s executive office since 1975.

“Regardless of the results, I am so honored to have met such a passionate, hard-working and humble person,” said Vi Pham, chief of staff. “(Allison) reminded us that fighting for better healthcare, sustainability and wages made our election struggles worth it.”

The two-woman team was elected under the same party banner and served under the former SGA President Cameron Barrett, who will now serve as a graduate senator at-large.

“I think (Allison) and Maysarah are set out to start a lot faster and get more work done,” Barrett said. “We did a lot of work in the 55th (Administration), but I think because they hit the ground running — because of the transitional support (they received) — they’ll get some more done.” 

Lawrence said she hopes this administration is transparent in its communication both internally and with the student body, and she hopes to have a term free from drama.

“We have a very ambitious agenda, but we will work on everything to our fullest capability,” Lawrence said. “We will push every initiative as hard as it can be pushed and push it as far as it can go. We will do everything that we can until 365 days later.”

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