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Marie Reimers, Patrick O’Connor win SGA election by a landslide

Croswell senior Patrick O’Conner, left, and Saginaw junior Marie Reimers pose for photos after the Student Government Association elections Monday afternoon at the Howard Ballroom in Powers Hall. (Charlotte Bodak/Staff Photographer)

Croswell senior Patrick O’Conner, left, and Saginaw junior Marie Reimers pose for photos after the Student Government Association elections Monday afternoon at the Howard Ballroom in Powers Hall. (Charlotte Bodak/Staff Photographer)

Marie Reimers was sworn in as Student Government Association president Monday, winning with 76 percent of the votes.

Reimers, a Saginaw junior, and her running mate Patrick O’Connor received 692 votes in the election, beating her opponents, Center Line graduate student Jonathan Schuler and his vice presidential candidate Darby Hollis, a Westland graduate assistant.

The election turnout of 906 voters met expectations for the SGA but still fell more than 1,000 votes short of last year’s election, when 2,046 votes were registered. The 2013 election saw Reimers’ win with a landslide majority vote, whereas Justin Gawronski’s election in 2012 had a vote count much closer to his opponent. Schuler received 214 votes overall.

Reimers, who ran on a large number of platform items, said her initial focus as president will be putting the structure in place to carry out her planned initiatives in the upcoming year.

“In addition to leadership that’s already established, our main goal right now is to find the right cabinet members to fill in the right positions,” Reimers said. “We want to put our right foot forward going into next year.”

O’Connor, who was previously the leader of the House, said he and Reimers will be reaching out to several sections of the student body to fill the needed positions.

“We’re really excited to work with the student body,” O’Connor said. “We’re going to work really hard at recruiting people and advertising SGA through the campus community.”

Reimers said their landslide victory indicates students have heard and embraced their ticket’s ideas.

“It indicates how hard we’ve worked,” Reimers said. “Students have noticed that we have actively reached out to them. It’s not them coming to you, it’s you coming to them.”

Reimers ran on several initiatives, the most important objective of her administration being the establishment of a women’s center. The Student Government Association supported a bill for the construction of a women’s center during Gawronski’s term.

Laura Orta, assistant director of graduate and off-campus programs in the political science department, is currently considering several possible outlines for the center.

Reimers has also endorsed a bike-sharing program on campus and said her administration will focus on encouraging the university to divest in businesses with policies detrimental to the environment. She said the university currently has dealings with Exxon and Chevron, whose practices she said harm the earth.

The ticket has also promised to improve students’ experience with campus dining and said they will pursue better food labeling for vegetarian and vegan options and will explore options to lower waste and extend hours of operation.

Gawronski endorsed the Reimers/O’Connor ticket before the polls opened, saying the ticket brings prestige and credibility to the SGA.

Lake Orion freshman Maggie Blackmer ran unopposed and was elected as treasurer. Eleven senators were also elected, also running unopposed.

A constitutional amendment passed with 85-percent support. The amendment aligns the constitution with the bylaw changes made earlier this semester, which include several spelling corrections and clarifications on SGA procedure.

Gawronski said he is pleased that Reimers won the election.

“I could not be more pleased with the results of the election. Marie and Patrick will do an amazing job. Maggie will, too, as well as the senators,” Gawronski said. “They know they have a big job ahead of them, and I am nothing but confident that they will succeed.”

Former Vice President Michelle Vanhala also expressed confidence in the ticket.

“My experience in the SGA has allowed me to see how far the organization has come in the last few years,” the Big Rapids senior said. “I am excited to see where Marie and Patrick will take it.”

Schuler was unavailable for comment.

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