Student government’s presidential field is down to two candidate pairs after Tuesday’s primary election, with Kiah Abbey/Lindsey Murdock and Jesse Cook/Brian Murakami advancing to next week’s general election.
Abbey and Murdock won the primary with 501 votes while Cook and Murakami followed with 132, beating out the team of John Stiles and Mario Stanislao by just seven votes. Casey Mulkey and Nate Brownlee received 49 votes.
Turnout for the election was 6.1 percent.
The primary election followed Monday’s debate between the original four sets of candidates. During the hour-long, moderated debate attended by nearly 100 people, the teams answered questions, articulated their campaign platforms and discussed pressing campus issues.
Abbey, a third-year anthropology student involved in the MSU Leadership Institute, NECO and Sustained Dialogue, explained that her campaign was focused on the issue of sustainability in three different ways: natural resources, finances and “human energy.”
“We want to make sure to give student leaders recognition,” Abbey said, as well as being “inclusive of all types of identity, from LGBTQ students to those involved in Greek life.”
Murdock, a second-year sociology student, added that the pair’s role would be to “collaborate, advocate and educate.”
“The more we can collaborate with different aspects of MSU, the more we can advocate for each individual student,” she said.
Cook, a senior in biochemistry as well as an AdvoCat, a staff member at the AskUs Desk and MSU’s current homecoming king, discussed the importance he would place on getting students involved and fostering a healthy campus community.
“Students shouldn’t feel like MSU is a workplace,” he said. “An engaged student is a student that wants to be here.”
Later in the debate, the candidates discussed the difficult parking situation on campus.
“Working at the AskUs desk, I talk to people who are very heated over parking,” Cook explained. He proposed expanding the Streamline bus service to weeknights, saying students who get out of class in the evenings are not able to take advantage of the “outstanding service” the Streamline offers.
Abbey’s ideas for parking reform included creating carpool parking spots, developing a bike share program and increasing promotion for the Streamline.
The candidates were also asked what changes to ASMSU services they would implement. In response, Murdock explained that student government needs to increase transparency in order for students to be more aware of what’s going on.
“We’ll make the ASMSU office more accessible for all students,” she said.
The candidates finished by leaving the audience with closing statements.
“We want people to be involved,” Murdock said, adding that “we want to make student government cool.” In addition, Abbey emphasized that she and Murdock “genuinely care about every student.”
“We’ve had great experiences and we want to recreate that for everyone,” she said.
Cook talked about how his experiences at MSU have shaped him has an individual, and said he wants students to have the same opportunities. “People should be able to come to MSU and plug into what’s going on,” he said.
The general election between the two remaining teams will take place on Feb. 22 and 23, following a final debate in the SUB Union Market at noon on the 21st.