Lecce leads our list

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

February 14, 2008 Ed Cartoon

This year’s University Students’ Council presidential race features four individuals who each bring something unique to the race.

As Mitch Steinberg enjoys pointing out, he is the everyman candidate. He sells himself as the alternative to the people who typically get involved in university politics. Steinberg should be commended for sticking to his message and not pretending to be something he’s not.

Steinberg is good for USC elections; he is a reminder that the USC needs to constantly work harder to represent all students, not just the politically active.

While Steinberg took the campaign seriously, he is not presidential material. His platform is brief and vague and he lacks USC knowledge and experience.

Christan Mariyanayagam is a nice, approachable guy. Yet he does not come across as having serious presidential fibre. His USC and political experience doesn’t match up with the other candidates.

Mariyanayagam has some solid initiatives in his platform. But he has small, doable ideas including a USC vehicle next to larger, ambiguous goals such as improving what students get out of the USC Health Plan.

Ryan Gauss’ platform promises a great deal to students " on issues which he has little control. Gauss’ initiatives to improve OSAP are similar to a high school presidential candidate promising a four-day school week. The president has lobbying powers but they need to be realistic about what they can achieve.

Both Mariyanayagam and Gauss, but especially Gauss, are advertising themselves as the winds of change that will make next year a legacy year for the USC.

This is a dangerous attitude. With the University Community Centre renovations, a new General Manager and UCC lease negotiations all on the horizon, the USC is set on a rocky path. A leader is needed who can keep the USC from falling apart, while setting achievable, positive goals for change.

Stephen Lecce has put forward a platform filled with concrete ideas. It is clear he has done his USC homework.

Lecce has been planned his campaign for a long time. He may appear scripted and overly polished, but that can be attributed to knowing his material so well. Being a good politician is a part of being a good president.

Ask any past USC president; no candidate is ever fully prepared for the role. Lecce, with his profound experience and knowledge, has a leg up on his competitors.

It might be difficult to picture mild-mannered Lecce staring down administration over tough issues, but it’s even tougher to imagine any of his competitors in the role.

Lecce provides a good balance of the pragmatic political leader, well researched and experienced, and the humour and passion necessary to steer the USC safely through the coming year.

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