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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

A former Student Government official has become the first to throw his hat in the race for next year's Student Body president.

Jason Lutin, a first-year UF law student, said he is planning to run for the position, which will be decided in the spring election.

As a UF undergraduate, Lutin served as SG's lobby coordinator, a position now known as external affairs director.

As lobby coordinator, Lutin said he helped develop the Academic Enhancement Program, a plan to raise tuition, with the UF administration while gaining familiarity with local, state and federal politics.

He said his SG experience also includes a nearly three-year tenure in the Student Senate.

Lutin said he had always considered running for president as an undergraduate and added that his experiences taught him to look at the big picture.

"I don't think individual promises work," he said.

As part of his big-picture focus, Lutin said his platform would primarily focus on providing a good education for UF students.

"There's a difference between student complaints and SG complaints," he said. "SG is angry about X-Y-Z clubs spending this much money, but 95 percent of the student population doesn't care."

His other platform priorities would be reforming student services, including areas of UF's transportation and parking office and then reforming student organizations, he said.

Lutin said he was not sure if he would run with the Gator Party, which currently controls SG's executive and legislative branches, or with another party.

As president, Lutin said he would also continue to maintain the close relationship with the UF administration he developed as lobby coordinator.

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"Ultimately, the decision lies with the administration, and we have to work well with them," he said. "It's very important to be part of the conversation. You may not like what they talk about, but at least talk about it."

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