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Student Government: Valuable Experience or Sideshow? April 11, 2009

Posted by roothogreport in Uncategorized.
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Joe Blanchard prepares for an interview after winning a seat on the Fairbanks Borough Assembly.  Blanchard is a past president of the UAF student government, or ASUAF.

Joe Blanchard prepares for an interview after winning a seat on the Fairbanks Borough Assembly. Blanchard is a past president of the UAF student government, known as ASUAF.

Sorry for my absence over the course of the last month.  I’ve been sidelined for a variety of reasons, most of which have to do with reporting I’m doing on the student government at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.  I’ve been doing a series of stories for the UAF paper – the Sun Star – on the efforts of some members of the student senate to remove the student president.  The experience got me thinking about student government and its relation to “actual” politics.  Is it a jumping-off point where future politicians can get their feet wet, or is it a backwater where political science majors with no hope of a career in real politics can stroke their egos and hold rein over their own little corner of the universe?

More after the jump.

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Municipal Election Liveblog #3 – Aftermath October 8, 2008

Posted by roothogreport in Fairbanks Government.
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City Council hopeful Emily Bratcher talks to her mother.

City Council hopeful Emily Bratcher talks to her mother.

 

 

 

Apologies for the late update, but I was under deadline for a different story and couldn’t update live from the Borough building.

100% of precincts are now reporting.  The only race which remained as too close to call before the counting of absentee and questioned ballots is City Council seat E, where Emily Bratcher holds a narrow 73-vote lead over Lloyd Hilling.  There were only 512 absentee ballots cast in the entire borough (the city didn’t provide city-specific numbers), so Bratcher’s lead may well hold.

 

 

 

 

A few thoughts on the night:

  • Turnout was low.  Even with absentee and questioned ballots added to the mix it looks like turnout won’t break 10,000 in the entire borough.  With roughly 65,000 registered voters in the borough, that’s about 15 percent turnout.
  • The number of candidates who showed up to the Borough Assembly chambers to watch election returns come in was significant, but many didn’t show up, including some who won.  Tim Beck didn’t show up, though according to Assembly member-elect Tammie Wilson he may have had a family emergency which required his presence.  No candidate was present from the relatively high-profile race between Jerry Cleworth (who won) and Tonya Brown.  Kurt Gutzman was listed on the ballot in the race but dropped out for personal reasons.
  • Young politicians were at the forefront of several races.  Joe Blanchard, 23, was elected to the Borough Assembly.  Emily Bratcher, 28, will be a City Council member if her lead over Lloyd Hilling holds.  Ron Warner II, 19, turned in a credible performance in his City Council race against incumbent Bernard Gatewood.  Warner was defeated, but his showing was stronger than I think most people (myself included) expected.  I would be surprised if he chose not to run again.
  • The current borough tax cap was resoundingly re-approved, and a proposition seeking to reduce it was resoundingly (though by a smaller margin) defeated.  In my opinion, the defeated proposition was very likely harmed by its difficult-to-understand wording.
All right, it’s time to close up shop for the night.  Thanks for following along.  I’ll have more thoughts on local races in the days to come.