SGA hosts forum for state reps

Former Student Government Association (SGA) President Kesha Ram returned to familiar territory in the Davis Center last Tuesday to attend the SGA weekly meeting.

This time, however, she did not address the senators as their leader but as a Democratic candidate for one of two available State House seats in the Chittenden County 3-4 district.

Fellow candidates and current Progressive seat holders David Zuckerman and Chris Pearson joined Ram in sharing their future agendas with SGA in a question and answer style public forum.

Candidate qualification was a hot topic of the evening as Ram defended her credentials as a politician fresh out of college.

Aside from her former position as SGA President, Ram has been recognized both locally and nationally for her “environmental stewardship” and “academic excellence, leadership and service” according to her Web site.

“I think my experience in the community makes me an ideal candidate for the job,” Ram said. She also said that she has the time to make a strong commitment to her campaign, while her opponent Zuckerman is busy raising a family and running an organic farm.

On campus, student awareness of the race is minimal. Sophomore Amanda Desenna said that she was surprised when she learned that Ram was a candidate, but said, “It is always good to have fresh and new opinions.”

She also expressed that Ram’s former position as SGA president has provided her with ample experience, “she had to be in charge of a big group of people.”

Zuckerman, a UVM alumnus, who ran for the state representative position while an undergraduate in the ’90s, denied a claim made by one senator that he had labeled Ram as inexperienced.

He did, however, state that practice in policy was very important for some things.

“My track record speaks for itself – I think we’re two of the best for pushing the envelope,” Zuckerman said, referring to himself and Pearson.

As the longest running Progressive in the house, Zuckerman has made considerable headway in the promotion of local business and has been a “leader on economic and environmental reform,” according to www.progressiveparty.org.

Pearson has been an active member of the Progressive Party for several years and became the party’s first full-time director in 2001.

At the meeting he stated the importance of proper representation for Vermont workers and the closing of VT Yankee.

“We have to have a different kind of conversation,” Pearson said.

When asked what she thought needed mending in Zuckerman and Pearson’s current politics, Ram replied “we have the lowest voter turnout in the state.”

Zuckerman responded by stating that he and Pearson had previously run uncontested.

“The key thing about [this] particular race is that all three of these candidates have served their communities well and I am eager to see what happens,” current SGA President Jay Taylor said. “I’m glad that the SGA was able to host them all together and that more students will take an active role in politics by coming to the remaining ‘Meet the Candidates’ forums.”