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Thursday, May 23, 2024
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Change Party’s story has always been as an underdog. From the caucus’ origins in Fall 2021 to our first-ever majority in the Student Senate two years later, we are ready to continue delivering for you. Yes, you!

UF Student Government has a budget of over $23 million, and $19.06 per credit hour comes from your tuition and fees. Yet SG sees an average voter turnout of only 15%. In the face of gerrymandering, a history of taxation without representation and a future of increasingly concerning corruption scandals, we have subverted the status quo to deliver a government built for the people, by the people.

We get it — words don’t mean much without action. Our track record speaks for itself: Change Party authored 161 bills in the Student Senate in just a few months. Here is just a glimpse of what Change accomplished: 

We reinvested $15,000 to fund meal voucher programs for food-insecure students. We authorized and funded a newly revised RTS Bus App to support students. We developed and funded the CANVAS Project to subsidize arts course supplies. After years of advocacy, we passed an Indigenous Land Acknowledgement and made fairer Graduate Representation within our Senate a reality. We addressed the decades-long abuse of funding from the ACCENT and SGP Agencies through implementing effective, student-centered regulations. 

During all this, Change Party spearheaded a future for SG anyone can be proud of. From authoring the most bipartisan legislation the Senate has ever seen, to creating the Senate Green Caucus, a group of 25 nonpartisan members seeking to promote sustainability and environmentalism, to convincing two-thirds of the Senate to override multiple vetoes, Change Party has ushered in a new era of UF SG.

Yet, there is still so much more to be done. Your SG can implement immense change on campus, from making 24/7 Marston a permanent reality (funding is set to expire this year), a contraceptive vending machine on campus, an off-campus thrift store and $17 minimum wage for student employees. Our 89 point platform centers on Graduate Affairs; Sustainability; Health and Wellness; Safety; Community; Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; Food Access; Economic Justice and Transportation Services.

At every turn, our actions have been opposed. Let us tell you about our experiences since our massive victory in Spring 23:

When we were first elected, the Gator-affiliated Senators, several of which are currently affiliated with Vision, meticulously planned to leave mid-meeting and filibuster Senate meetings on multiple occasions. This lasted for six weeks, making it impossible to do anything for the Student Body for the rest of the Spring semester.

Our Summer was no less tumultuous. Change finally passed a budget including an additional $250,000 for student organizations, only to be vetoed by the Student Body Treasurer. Now in a final attempt to end our influence, one Gator and two Vision affiliates stalled the proposed Fall election map for four months in committee, and when it finally hit the Senate floor, the current Vision Party president failed an election map model that SG has used since the '70s!

Now, every Off-Campus District is merged into a single 37-seat district — let this also be your reminder that if you live off campus, you now have to select 37 names on the ballot. This election map is a product of Gerrymandering: a tactic of voter dilution used by white supremacists. Our evidence points to the same racial and economic inequality in our swamp. 

Your vote is needed now more than ever. As Change picked up steam, the previous Majority Party tried everything to halt progress. In their final, most desperate attempt to cling onto power, they stooped to their lowest point and tried to rig the election in their favor.  But remember, you still have a stake in this fight and you hold the power to cast your vote for the party that keeps moving forward against all odds.

Change is the only constant in SG. As you see unfamiliar parties, remember they are filled with familiar faces. This election, we encourage voters to stay informed, do your research and see that Change Party is the SG party providing good-faith policy and not bad-faith politics. 

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Vote Change Party at your nearest polling location Oct. 3 and Oct. 4 from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. 

Connor Panish is a UF Mathematics junior and Change Party President

Faith Corbett is a UF Political Science senior and Change Party Campaign Manager

Jonathan Stephens is a UF Food Science junior and Change Party Co-Director of Policy

Nathaniel Pelton UF Political Science sophomore and Change Party Co-Director of Policy

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