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Although I was born in India, growing up in the U.S. has instilled in me how important it is to be civically engaged. I saw the constantly changing political climate in America, and I watched as the leaders of our country made decisions for the future of our nation. And yet, for 12 years, I was unable to participate in selecting our leaders because I was not a U.S. citizen.

This past January, I became an American citizen, and I am now able to vote in upcoming elections. I have always believed that there is no certain issue more important than the next. Our country can always improve and work toward a better future. It is for this reason that I registered as a Democrat.

To get involved in Student Government at UF, there was no prerequisite to be a U.S. citizen. Being a student is enough to be able to work to make positive

changes at UF. My peers pushed me to do more for our university and to always be fighting for our Student Body. This is why I chose to run as a candidate with the Gator Party. Gator is a place where all individuals can work together to bring UF to unreachable heights.

Gator Party is composed of people who hold a great variety of political views. Our candidates’ political affiliations closely match those of the Student Body, with approximately 31 percent of Gator Party as Democrats and 35 percent as Republicans. The rest identify as non-party affiliated or are not citizens. For me, this was an important part of choosing Gator Party because it is a party that truly represents every student at this university.

I ask you all to go out and vote in the SG elections Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. It is your right as a student to vote in these elections where you decide the future of our university.

Jessica Jesurajan is a Gator Party candidate for Student Body treasurer.