Journal endorses GPP by single vote

Team GPP won the Journal’s endorsement by one vote.

Presidential candidate Rico Garcia, vice-presidential candidate of operations Duncan Peterson and vice-presidential candidate of university affairs T.K. Pritchard form a well-rounded, cohesive team.

After conducting interviews with all three teams, the Journal’s Editorial Board cast nine votes for team GPP and eight for team JDL. Team RMS received five votes and there were two abstentions.

Team GPP offers the best option as a whole, but their platform lacks the specific ideas of team JDL — comprised of presidential candidate Doug Johnson, VP university affairs candidate Mira Dineen and VP operations candidate Tristan Lee.

While GPP offers a run-of-the-mill platform, the team makes up for a lack of creativity with personality.

Each member of GPP is humble enough to be open to feedback, criticism and concerns. T.K. Pritchard is the strongest member of the team. He displays intense dedication to the welfare of the student body and would effectively lobby student interests. His wealth of experience and friendly personality make him the best choice for VP of university affairs.

Team GPP’s weakest link is presidential candidate Rico Garcia. It’s unclear how effective he’ll be at standing up for students and negotiating with the University. If Garcia is elected, he needs to assert himself. He stated that one of his greatest skills is knowing how and when to listen, but the AMS president also needs a keen sense of when to speak up. Garcia’s $100,000 alpine tower proposal last year — shortly before he took office as Arts and Science Undergraduate Society (ASUS) president — was concerning, but he admitted it as a mistake when asked about his flaws.

Duncan Peterson, team GPP’s candidate for VP of operations has worked with a large budget before as vice-president for ASUS. He has good managerial skills, and gave quantifiable answers regarding his mistakes and shortcomings. He’ll be a capable VP of operations.

It’s unfortunate though that Peterson’s competitor, Tristan Lee, doesn’t have a stronger team.

Lee showed a considerable knowledge of business management and a sharp financial acumen. He’s the best candidate for VP of operations. Working as Common Ground’s head manager, Tristan drastically reduced the service’s deficit in the 2010-11 year.

Trailing just one vote behind GPP, team JDL has run a well-polished campaign. Each member of JDL is individually suited for his or her position, but they lack the strong group cohesion that both GPP and RMS demonstrated.

Throughout the Journal Editorial Board, both of JDL’s VP candidates seemed dependant on Johnson for validation.

Team JDL’s vice-presidential candidate of university affairs Mira Dineen has extensive knowledge and experience in Kingston. Her work as the AMS’s academic affairs commissioner is a natural stepping stone to the vice-presidential position. But Dineen was frequently taken aback by questions and wasn’t persuasive.

Johnson, JDL’s presidential candidate, offered a mix of benefits and drawbacks. Having been ASUS president and currently representing the Society as student senate caucus chair, Johnson has ample experience interacting with administration.

But Johnson’s claim that he “knows how to speak the language” of administrators is what makes him unapproachable for students.

While their platform has specific metrics of success, problems came in the form of prioritization. When asked to identify the single most important aspect of their platform, JDL selected their library improvement package. It includes increasing library study space and the creation of a mobile app that shows an estimate of how many seats are available in each library.

These ideas seem trivial in light of more pressing issues facing the University. Suspension of a program due to financial troubles is more important than open seats at Stauffer.

This AMS executive race is the first time since 2008 that three teams have run. Having a fully-external team like RMS in the race is refreshing and presidential candidate Jeffrey McCarthy, VP operations candidate, Bryor Snefjella and VP of university affairs candidate Sean Renaud should be commended.

Team RMS received the lowest number of Journal votes at five, but they deserve recognition for their efforts. They did their research.

They’re an honest and humble trio but failed to sell their external perspective as more of a benefit than a detriment. With a year-long term, teams cannot spend the majority of their time becoming familiar with the job.

Renaud proved himself as a contender. As a mature student with multiple college degrees and experience managing a company, he would be an effective VP of university affairs.

VP operations candidate Snefjella was the clear weak link on the team, something he admitted in his interview. His experience with budgets extends only to a $10,000 not-for-profit organization he runs in Kingston, and his lack of practical experience could be a liability for AMS operations.

In the current financial climate of the University, a strong president is needed to stand up to administration in the face of cuts. RMS’s presidential candidate McCarthy was genuine and principled. Unfortunately, he didn’t display a firmness neccessary to contend with administrators.

An endorsement is our opportunity to voice who we think would best serve student interests at the executive level. By a narrow margin, it’s GPP.

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