This year’s primary election for the Junior Caucus was notable for its exceptionally low voter turnout. But with only two tickets, both were guaranteed a spot in the general election. Sophomores Daniel Goldstern and William Oh pulled ahead of sophomores Philip Kim and Jenny Han by 12 more votes. In an election in which many of the more experienced leaders of the sophomore grade chose to run as SU Vice Presidents (VP), a pair of Student Union (SU) newcomers, Goldstern and Oh, was able to overcome Kim’s credentials as VP of his grade for the past two years.
This year’s contest is a significant improvement over last year’s, for which The Spectator did not find either ticket worthy of endorsement. Goldstern-Oh and Kim-Han highlighted their strengths well during the interviews, yet both tickets were less than ideal. Goldstern and Oh are uninitiated in the realm of student politics and their knowledge of the SU paled in comparison to Kim. Vice presidential candidate Jenny Han was also a political newcomer but was more clued-in, undoubtedly from Kim’s instruction.
Kim’s unmatched experience makes him the favorite for the junior presidency. As president, Kim would not need much adjustment to be effective since he has already established contacts within the SU. Regrettably, his two years as grade VP were marked by inaction. Kim acknowledged that he could have had a bigger presence in the capacity of his office, but promised to be more active as grade president. Han, on the other hand, was unable to provide their ticket with additional vision—many of her ideas were recycled.
Both campaigns sought to improve on the SU in similar ways: more SU events, more college trips and an unforgettable Junior Prom. But Goldstern and Oh’s desire for change overshadowed Kim and Han’s goals. Goldstern was personable and an effective communicator. Despite never being involved in the SU, Goldstern’s confidence was reassuring. Oh was well spoken and contrasted Goldstern’s ideas with plans for implementation.
Goldstern-Oh were able to convey their theme of change clearly, while their opponents struggled to put out a consistent message. Goldstern-Oh were particularly effective in expressing their discontent with the current elected officials and demonstrating an impetus for change. This enthusiasm led us to endorse Goldstern and Oh for Junior Caucus.
This endorsement, however, is not without reservation. Goldstern and Oh’s lack of previous experience could prove to be a major hindrance to their effectiveness. It is yet to be seen whether their vigor will be channeled into political action or be lost in the bureaucracy. Yet, in Goldstern we are reminded of the current junior president, Michelle Lee, who upon entering her role had little experience or knowledge of the position but quickly acclimated and became an effective leader.
We hope that, if elected, Goldstern and Oh primarily concern themselves with learning the ropes of the SU until they are experienced enough to effectively command their posts as president and vice president.