A while back when Christopher Chase resigned as Student Body Vice President Joyce Medina's Chief of Staff, I was eager to get an interview with him and get his side of the story. As chaotic as the real world is, one thing led to another and for whatever reason that interview never came about. However, unable to resist the shenanigans of the current election, I just had to send Chris a few questions and hope that he'd be down for sharing his thoughts. So for this entry...you won't be hearing Christian Duque's ranting and raving...you'll hear the opinion of a former cabinet director and a former Chief of Staff to the current Student Body Vice President, here goes, unedited & uncensored::::::::
TR: State your name, claim to fame, & what campus organizations you’re currently involved with:
CC: Chris Chase
Former SG Cabinet director
-Student Conduct Committee
-Reitz Union Board of Managers
-Preview Staff 2004
-Director of Public Relations, Gator Growl 2005
TR: In a recent letter to the Alligator you made comments inferring that Brandon Siler (Unite VP Candidate) would join a long line of ineffectual predecessors if elected. What kind of training exactly puts Lydia Washington so far ahead of Brandon Siler? Couldn’t Siler receive training and work with a strong Chief of Staff (I.e. a Chistopher Chase or a Patrick Nealis) and actually become an effective Vice President?
CC: I served with Lydia Washington in the 2004-2005 Cabinet under the leadership of Jennifer Puckett. Lydia is one of the most genuine, passionate people I've ever encountered. Her enthusiasm for leadership and service are unmatched by any other Student Government official. After being awarded "Outstanding Cabinet Director," and now currently serving as a Cabinet Chairperson, she has gained invaluable experience and insight into the office of the Vice President. Her experience with programming and administration set her apart from her competitor. While the UNITE Party will continue to reiterate that Siler's election would serve as a "fresh" start for Student Government, I would contend that Siler lacks both the experience and passion for the office. While a candidate can easily be taught the structural elements of the position, it takes a seasoned Cabinet leader to understand the innermost workings of the body. The Office of the Vice President has been plagued with officials with little to no Cabinet experience (Puckett, Medina). They each lacked that special "spark" that is required to be a revolutionary and successful VP. Lydia Washington has that spark.
As an independent, I am incredibly disappointed that UNITE chose Siler over other exceptionally qualified candidates. The selection of Siler was merely meant to garner votes; Adam Roberts, Amanda Kane and other ex-IMPACT party officials decided that winning was more important than quality candidates. They sold out the student body to ensure their individual political futures.
TR: According to last year’s article and talk on the third floor, you believed Vice President Medina was an ineffectual leader, yet recently Ms. Medina is actually on a very respectable crusade to reduce the size of cabinet. Do you think the Madam Vice President is making cabinet more efficient by removing bureaucracy and saving SG money or are other motives at play, in your opinion?
CC: The only thing respectable about Joyce's recent actions is that she's actually getting out from behind her desk and doing something. I find it surprising that the same person who added several cabinets is now trying to downsize. After a year of being both overly-controlling and ineffective, I believe she is trying to leave office having done at least one thing. Several Cabinet members have resigned and she has had several public arguments with many officials. She is trying to fix a system that she broke in the first place; her power-trip has led to one of the most underwhelming Cabinets in years. I think the reorganization is a result of her incompetency and sheer frustration with the fact that she can't control people they way she'd like. The Cabinet does in fact need to be reorganized, but such an endeavor must utilize a coalition of student leaders and organizational representatives. A committee must be formed to assess the usefulness of positions and agencies. Only with proper student input can the Cabinet be reorganized to eliminate bureaucracy. Joyce hasn't done anything with good intentions all year, why would she start now?
TR: What are you thoughts on the independent candidacy of Susan Vaz Henriques? Do you think in an election between two mainstream dinosaurs that the students may make their frustrations known and elect an independent to the second highest position in Student Government? Why or Why not?
CC: Susan Vaz Henriques is an extremely qualified candidate. Her courage in standing up to Lindsay Cosimi and Stan Beckerdite is commendable. She knows the duties of Treasurer better than Cosimi EVER will and would be an exceptional Student Body Treasurer. I am confident that she will make it to the election run-off. It will depend on her campaign support and presence as to whether she will ultimately win. Her PR lately has been great, and I hope that the media continue to provide glowing reviews of her credentials and platform.
TR: Everything personal put aside, which candidate do you think would be easier for the UF administration to push around: John Boyles or Jared Hernandez. Why or Why not?
CC: No comment.
TR: What reactions, if any, do you have at the fact that both mainstream candidates have African American vice presidential running-mates? Coincidence or part of a shameful SG racial practice? (Another example: last year when Elda Auxilaire left the Impact fold she was replaced by Michelle Lightbourne another African American student leader….of all the students on campus….how’d Impact decide upon another person of the same race and gender…coincidence?)
CC: It is most definitely not a coincidence that both parties have African American running-mates. As someone who was privvy to the UNITE decision-making process, it was clear from the onset that Jared & Co. were only looking toward minority communities for a Vice President candidate. It was made quite clear to me by Jared himself that "the numbers have to add up" in the selection of his running mate. It is a shame that the so-called independent party, who in the past have chosen many candidates based on qualification, has resorted to choosing abysmal candidates based on race. While the selection of Lydia Washington may have been racially motivated, I must hand it to SWAMP for at least picking someone who is qualified for the position.
TR: 7. If the election were held right now, who would Christopher Chase vote for:
CC: President/VP: John Boyles/Lydia Washington
Treasurer: Susan Vaz Henriques
-----End of Interview-----
There will be a double-digest Alligator entry on Sunday night for anyone that cares.