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Saturday, December 09, 2023

The time of the Student Government election is upon us. And you know what that means: The Alligator's endorsement will be bestowed on the most-deserving parties and candidates - or withheld because we think no one has any clue what they're doing.

This time around, we're going to do things a little differently.

We didn't want to not endorse either party, because we felt that would be a cop-out. But we didn't think either party deserved a full-on endorsement either.

So we sat and wondered, what to do?

We received our answer in the form of Kyle Robisch, the independent candidate running for the Graham-Simpson-Trusler student senate seat.

In a meeting with the Alligator editorial board, Robisch said running as an independent gives him more freedom to support his constituents. Instead of feeling compelled to support a party's every choice, whether he thinks it would be good for his constituents, he can vote for what his voters will actually want and push for their issues instead of someone else's. "I don't want to be locked into doing what [the parties] want to do," Robisch said.

Damn straight.

The Progress Party's platform contains a lot of issues and ideas, but only a handful of them are good. On the other hand, the Gator Party's much shorter "10-point platform" is mostly poorly thought-out ideas.

But even if Progress won every senate seat it has a candidate for - 29 - Gator would still be the majority party, thanks to its sweeping victory in the spring.

So this semester, we say vote in the spirit of Kyle Robisch. He's a fraternity member who is defying convention by running as an independent even though his brothers are Gator supporters. He's a freshman from Kansas who already knows more about UF's SG than most students learn in four years.

Gator claims it has the most diverse slate and seems to think this diversity means it has the best party. While we appreciate diversity as much as the next person, slating should be about who is the most qualified to represent voters. Gator said its platform only has 10 points because it's "more tangible" than a larger platform. But Gator, which dominates SG already, hasn't accomplished many of its goals from last semester. No surprise, but it ran on the idea of "tangible" goals then, too.

But the sad truth is, even if Gator loses every seat possible, it will still be the majority party. We can only hope for opposing voices to stand up for what's best for students, not just what's best for the Gator Party.

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But we get the feeling Progress is just running as the non-Gator Party. Progress seems to run on the idea that it is against everything SG (i.e., Gator) is now. By calling for "honesty, accountability, transparency and reform" in SG, Progress seems to say SG is just a glorified club that's really hard to get into. That may be true, but it doesn't make an opposition party.

So when you go to the polls Tuesday or Wednesday, don't vote for a particular party. Vote for which candidates will be best for you. And if you live in the Graham area, vote for Kyle Robisch.

Both parties have good ideas, such as working toward implementing Gmail, creating a sustainability minor, reforming campaign spending and creating an SG "Seal of Approval" for companies with fair leasing practices. Those are the ones we want to see come to fruition. If both parties take the Kyle Robisch approach to support the best ideas, regardless of whose they were, we'll have a better SG because of it.

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