Monday, April 20, 2009

Ken Kerns....Sneak Peak

TheRaDiKaL: What can you tell us about the Vision Party campaign and working with Gary Slossberg? In what ways did the Voice Party (your incarnation) compare and/or differ from Vision?

Ken Kerns: Vision ran for an extraordinarily long time, from Spring 1997 to Spring 2000. I was only around for its final two elections, when it failed to win any seats. And when I was there, I could see why – very little effort was made to build and sustain coalitions in the fall and spring, and especially at recruiting new activists. In Spring 2000, we were heavily reliant on the qualifications and diversity that our Treasurer candidate brought to the table as BOCC Treasurer and the first openly gay candidate for campus-wide office.

Gary Slossberg was a great person to work with – funny, friendly, and passionate about his beliefs. As the Vision presidential candidate in 1999, for example, he spearheaded an effort to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation. Of all the political leaders I worked with at UF, he remains my favorite – I can’t quite explain why, but I think it has something to do with the fact that it took a lot to get him mad at you.

Vision was always like that, too – while not a “College Democrats” party, Vision was very much a socially liberal one that was skeptical of FBK and the greek system.

Voice 2001 was a bit different. Our platform was within the Vision tradition of “integrity, democracy, diversity” but our emphasis was on the plight of student organizations, and improving how SG worked. Our biggest fight was over giving more money to student groups – an amendment to the A&S Fee budget that Fusion bitterly opposed in the election but eventually sponsored when it came time to fund the organizational budget. We did not really campaign on social issues as much, although we favored more emphasis on a cleaner environment. With folks like Adam Guilette, a founder of the Liberty Project, on our side, our campaign was more about making SG more responsive, more decentralized.

It’s within the GDI tradition that Vision had cemented, but we had our own policy accents that made it a distinct force.

The Full Ken Kerns Q&A...June 1, 2009
Argento, Capezza, Kerns: "The Big 3"


Nick Capezza said...

I agree with Ken's thoughts on Vision and Voice. Voice certainly had a lasting legacy despite our somewhat limited success electorally speaking.

Ken said...

Other than me sounding more serious and philosophical about the ideas of Vision and Voice ('01), I like the preview so far. Look forward to the rest of the Q&A and comments therein.

This should be a great kickoff to a memorable six months of SG, blogging, and publishing.

Thanks, Christian!

Christian Duque said...

I think today's crop can only benefit from having the last 10yrs of UF-SG before their fingertips.

Between my two years of service, four years of blogging, and the combined content found in Q&A's - the critics will have a hard time denying the fact that an Independent movement does in fact exist at UF, parallel to the FBK/Greek elements.

In time I hope we'll have a Chris Carmody Q&A, in addition to such efforts with Gil Sanchez, Marc Adler, Nikki Fried, and Gary Slossberg.

I may not get these classic era interviews, but everyone can dream.

I really take pride in what this site has done - and - aside from our online feuds and spats, THIS Q&A has been delayed for a purpose.

Get ready, b/c it's going to be an EYE-OPENER!