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Thursday, August 18, 2022

Meet SG Senate’s independent Fall candidates

Charles Horowitz, Gabriell Almond-Lopez and Harry Bonilla Ramirez all originally slated with Gator Party

With the Fall election less than a week away, three independent candidates are set to appear on the ballot. Independents run unaffiliated from any parties. Without a party to back them up, independents are responsible for building their own platforms and campaigns. Senate currently has only one independent, Zachery Utt, who is not rerunning for election.

Students can vote Sept. 28 and 29 at one of seven polling locations between 8:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. 

Charles Horowitz - Broward-Rawlings Seat 

If you live in the Broward-Rawlings area, chances are you’ve seen independent candidate Charles Horowitz passing out fliers. As he puts it, he’s running against the machine. 

“I'm just really trying to inform people face-to-face,” he said. 

Horowitz, an 18-year-old UF political science freshman, originally slated for the Gator Party because he believed it would give him the best chance of winning. However, before Gator picked candidates, he transitioned his campaign to an independent one.

Horowitz believes the party system is broken, and that Gator Party exacerbates the problem with their “persistent inaction and elitism.” 

“What I've seen at UF is that in its tenure here, Gator Party has done absolutely nothing,” he said. “People cannot tell you what the Senate has done because they really have not done anything meaningful.”

After dropping Gator Party and deciding to run independent, Horowitz crafted a platform of his own focused on addressing the needs of his constituents. 

He plans to propose a resolution condemning anti-Semitism in the U.S. as one of the first things he does as a Senator. It’s an issue close to him as he is Jewish, he said.

Additionally, he wants to strive for upkeep of the buildings in the Broward-Rawlings area and make the common rooms more sociable.

“My common room [in Broward], which is supposed to support 80 people, there’s exactly four chairs which is kind of ridiculous,” he said.

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If elected, Horowitz also plans to add printers in common rooms and add amendments to funding bills so that his area can afford proper building maintenance. 

“This is the time of the year when all the air conditioning units break down and people start getting black mold in their rooms,” he said. “It’s things like that that seem small, but that people absolutely care about.”

Harry Bonilla Ramirez - Lakeside

At Lakeside, Harry Bonilla Ramirez often battles with broken amenities. 

The hallway air conditioning is broken, and dirty clothes stay dirty because of outdated washing machines that occasionally refuse payment, he said. 

So if he’s elected, Ramirez plans to change that. He hopes to modernize the washers and dryers, improve parking and amenities and hold weekly meetings with constituents to discuss what concerns they want him to bring to the Senate.

Ramirez, a 22-year-old UF political science junior, originally slated to run with Gator Party. However, he wasn’t selected as one of their candidates and decided to run as an independent, which he believes grants him more freedom. 

“I cater more to the average person here,” he said. “Not just to the party.”

As a transfer student from Broward College, Ramirez had to pick his classes and contend socially with little help, he said. Lakeside doesn’t offer much in the way of sociability, which is something he wants to change. 

“I wanted to bring more events and more tools to help people like me,” he said. “More tools for them to be able to feel comfortable.”

Gabriell Almond-Lopez - Broward-Rawlings

Gabriel Almond-Lopez believes that he echoes the voice of other Broward and Rawlings Hall residents who share similar concerns as him.

The common room on the west side of Broward Hall only has one chair at four tables compared to the east side of Broward that has four chairs at each table, he said. 

“The east side of Broward is disproportional compared to the west side of Broward,” he said “So I want to bridge the gap there.”

Almond-Lopez’s platform consists of whatever his constituents want, whether that be better building up-keep in the halls or improving amenities, he said he believes he can get it done because of his lack of affiliation with a particular party.

He originally slated with Gator Party as well, but was not picked as a candidate. He believes that has given him a chance to represent more freely what his constituents demand. 

“I want to vote for what my constituents want,” he said. “So whatever they feel happy with is what I will vote for. Not what the party says that you should vote for.”

Contact Allessandra Inzinna at Follow her on Twitter @ainzinna.

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Allessandra Inzinna

Allessandra is a third-year journalism major with a minor in English. In the past, she has covered local musicians and the cannabis industry. She is now the Student Government reporter for The Alligator. Allessandra paints and plays guitar in her free time. 

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