Election results bring new ideas

By Lisa Crawford

December 4, 2007

After a close race, Harold Callaway and Jennifer Kohler were elected the 2008 Student Government Association president and vice-president. Callaway and Kohler beat their opponents Luke Herrington and Emily Feger in the SGA elections held Nov. 14-15 by 83 votes. They will replace the current SGA President Natalie Bailey and current SGA Vice-President Herrington. This was the first fall election at Missouri Western.  The last election was held in spring 2006 where the student body voted on constitutional changes that included changing voting dates.  Bailey and Herrington served the only three-semester term at Missouri Western.  This year’s ballot did not include any Constitutional changes.  Herrington and Feger filed a formal grievance claiming violations in the Callaway/Kohler campaign, but the Election Commission found no violations of the election rules.  Herrington currently has an appeal pending with the Student Court. “I’m ready to take office and get this Election Commission stuff behind us,” Callaway said.  Callaway and Kohler began their transition to office Monday Dec. 3. Students also elected Western Activites Council President Janel Banks and Vice President Branford Lomax Nov. 14-15.  This will be Banks’ second term as WAC president.  She ran unopposed this election.  Twenty-six senators were also elected at the same time. Residence Council’s 2008 President Kayla Wymore and Vice President Samy Northcutt were elected the following day on a separate ballot. Callaway said he believed campaigns were the key to getting votes. “It’s obvious we hit the campaign trail harder than the opposition did,” Callaway said. His campaign “Working With, Not Against,” focused on students and their needs. The Callaway/Kohler campaign wanted to work on reducing the cost of textbooks and allocating money to better food options through work with dining services.  Callaway and Kohler also hope to implement SIP: Student Involvement Program. This proposed program would increase student involvement on campus while giving away incentives to students. “We’re hoping to get people out to more events through SIP,” Callaway said. Some of the propositional incentives for SIP include drawings for things as small as flex dollars and gift cards to local businesses to giving away shopping sprees and even the possibility of a lease on a new car.  Students would be able to enter at all events attended throughout the semester. Drawing for top prizes would be at Spring Concert where students must be present to win. SIP was an idea crafted by Callaway and supporters before elections began, but Callaway found an even more important reason for SIP while talking to students during his campaign. “There are so many people that had never heard of SGA before and I had to explain to them what it was,” Callaway said. Junior Dustin Strickler campaigned for Callaway and Kohler and made the same discovery. “The first question I would ask someone is if they knew about the SGA elections and three-fourths said ‘no’,” Strickler said. “The second question was if they knew what SGA was and still I’d get the same response.” Callaway has been the Missouri Western’s student governor for the past four semesters and has served in SGA for two separate administrations. “I plan on breaking the stigma and making sure people know we do is vital,” Callaway said. He said he hopes his platform and SIP will minimize any past downs and increase the ups. “Hopefully we’ll implement something future administrations will want to continue also,” Callaway said. Strickler said he knew Callaway would be a great front-runner and he wanted to support him from the beginning. “It’s always great to see someone with a smile on their face no matter the situation,” Strickler said.  “He has great relations with administration, he’s a well-rounded guy and he’s always looking fresh in his three-piece suit and power tie.” Callaway’s term as Student Governor ends this semester.  In January the position will be vacant until Gov. Matt Blunt chooses a replacement from three candidates. Currently there is only one interested candidate.