SGA: Speaker exits with great expectations, warm recollections
As Student Government Association’s Speaker for more than a year, Alexander Obregon expanded upon the duties of his position identified in SGA’s bylaws.
The official role of the speaker is to control the flow of legislation, ensure that SGA’s policies, procedures and bylaws are implemented and are not compromised during Senate meetings, and serve as the Senate’s preceding officer.
Along with these responsibilities, Obregon became an advisor for senators by facilitating meetings with administrators at UH. He also worked toward ensuring that senators are conducting town hall meetings and confronting issues that affect their constituents.
Now Obregon must step aside and prepare At-large Senator Kyrie Ruiz for the challenges of the position. Ruiz was an intern to former SGA President Sam Dike, and was elected to the Student Fee Advisory Committee.
Ruiz illustrated her ability to lead when she worked on this committee, becoming chair as an underclassman. She was later unanimously elected to fill an At-large opening in the Senate, where she continued to impress Obregon and his peers.
‘She is more than qualified,’ Obregon said. ‘She has been there from the beginning. She has more experience than some senators who have served for SGA for two administrations.’
Ruiz said she is ready to tackle her responsibilities, and plans to ensure that ‘the work of the past administration is not lost.’ She also said she wants SGA President ‘Kenneth (Fomunung) and (Vice President) Prince (Wilson) to continue building their work in ensuring students’ voices are heard.’
Since his first day as speaker for the 45th administration, Obregon said he made a determined effort to convey his availability by corresponding with all senators.
‘When you increase the communication and the support to senators, I have found that we (as a Senate) are a lot more effective,’ Obregon said.
Ruiz said she will focus on helping students and building the Senate for the 46th administration, following Obregon’s path of accessibility.
‘I will be working on student issues, and any student is welcome to contact me with their concerns,’ Ruiz said. ‘My office will always be open to everyone who has a concern or question.’
Fond memories, high hopes
Obregon said his greatest accomplishment as speaker was helping senators ‘hit the ground running as soon as they (were) elected,’ and assisting students who needed support.
He said he will especially miss meeting students with serious issues, who are surprised when they realize he can actually help them. Obregon also said he enjoyed reading ‘thank you notes’ he received for offering effective aid.
Obregon has high expectations for Ruiz, saying her leadership and communication skills should pay dividends.
‘I expected her (to earn this position), because of the resources she has to accomplish a lot more than I did during my time here,’ Obregon said.