The Ballot Is Open: A Quick Overview of Speeches, Campaigns, and Mueller's Absence on the Ticket

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Yesterday afternoon, Jonah Ortiz ('17), Megan Ristine ('17), Dorea Slagle ('17), Patrick Thomas ('17), and Katherine Thompson ('17) delivered their final speeches before students began casting ballots.

After debates and almost two weeks of campaigning (primarily with food and social media) the end is in sight, even with the high probability of run-off in mind.

Ristine, randomly selected as the first speaker, reiterated her campaign’s theme to unify the school around a vision.

“A vision is the most important thing a student body president can bring to the table,” Ristine said.

She voiced her hope to draw the student body together and help it cohesively engage the city. Where other candidates spoke to improving community within Houses and organizations, Ristine stressed that each student is, first and foremost, a member of King’s.

“We are The King’s College,” she said.

Thomas opened his speech by sharing how he ended up at King’s. After committing to George Washington University his sophomore year, Thomas took a spring trip to New York City during his senior year and happened to look “up and to the right” to see King’s campus.

“I believe everyone--student, faculty, staff, and administration--is here for a God-designed reason,” he affirmed before restating his campaign platform.

Promising to ask each day of his term, “have we left the school better than we found it?”, Thomas pledged to seek out leaders who will serve the school alongside him in order to bolster faith in student government.

Slagle also shared a personal story, telling the crowd about a recent encounter with admissions counselor Alexandria Dinsmore, who said to Slagle, “the Lord does not call you to something because it’s easy or simple. But if He calls you to pursue leadership, you have to trust Him to move you forward.” Slagle admitted fearing rejection if she loses the election, but also expressed love for the student body and urged her peers to seek greater involvement in City Engagement. She repeated her desire for increasing student organization budgets.

“As Christians, service should be a priority for us,” Slagle said.

Ortiz’s supporters have begun circulating a drawing of him (and a canine advocate) alongside explanations of why they’re voting for him.

Ortiz lamented the negativity the campaigns have experienced, sharing his immense enjoyment at baking cookies with different Houses and hearing concerns and thoughts from various students. He encouraged students to engage in student government affairs (“who cares about accessibility if you don’t access the SBP?”) and consider “who has the relevant experience” when casting ballots.

“There’s nothing so bad about King’s that’s not overcome by what’s best about King’s,” he said, promising to be a ‘voice’ and an ‘advocate’ for students who hate King’s and students who love King’s alike. “I want to take what’s best about King’s and overcome our challenges.”

Thompson continued to emphasize “defining roles, streamlining communication, and creating a culture of constructive criticism,” as key tenets of creating a more effective and transparent student government. Peppering her speech with references to Leslie Knope, Meryl Streep, and Bon Jovi, Thompson underlined her dedication and her hope to transform the student body through small changes.

"I'm the first to admit that my vision isn't sexy," Thompson said. "Efficiency and stability are historically the hardest ideas to sell."

But at the end of her term, Thompson pledged, she and her team will be able to say that “the work was hard, but the incremental changes were everlasting.”

The speeches came after a week of campaigning that saw candidates moving beyond town halls and developing creative strategies to win votes. Among the offerings were ‘Bagels with Slagle’, Thomas’ cereal bar, and Ortiz’s cookie-baking sessions at on-campus apartment complexes.

The campaigns also utilized online endorsements. Thompson’s social media page regularly posts quotes from various students who ‘#Istandwithkat’, and Ortiz’s supporters have begun circulating a drawing of him (and a canine advocate) alongside explanations of why they’re voting for him.

Faculty and students alike also coalesced around a surprise Twitter candidacy from economics professor Paul Mueller, whose campaign advocated for free-market solutions to King’s challenges and claimed on Twitter that, due to his having four out of five opponents as current students, he was “schooling the competition.” Mueller participated in Friday’s banana extravaganza, where he criticized Kanye West’s economics and revealed that his favorite karaoke song is the Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”.

Much to the chagrin of his supporters, Mueller ended his bid for the presidency this morning and did not appear either at this afternoon’s debate or on the ballot.

CampusElle Rogers