Demonstrated leaders, Bilas-Kington deserve SG vote



In the upcoming elections, I find myself in a difficult position. I know each of the main candidates well and consider each a friend. However, given careful consideration of both the Bilas-Kington and Staples-Wimberly tickets, Stephen Bilas and Mary Katherine Kington emerge as the candidates best suited for the roles of student body president and vice president.

Having served as the president of a large, Greek organization (Phi Delta Theta fraternity) and a small, non-Greek organization (Student Development Council), in addition to my involvement in organizations across campus, including the acoUstiKats and the K Book Editorial Board, I understand the various issues that face our diverse student body.

Given these considerations, I strongly support Bilas and Kington in the upcoming election.

First, consider the experience of both candidates. Bilas has extensive experience in the executive branch of Student Government across multiple administrations, which is an invaluable experience for a president-elect.

Bilas began his SG service by participating in the freshman Leadership Development Program, ultimately helping organize a successful campaign in his first year. During his sophomore year, Bilas served as the Student Government comptroller, a position requiring oversight of the entire SG budget — at the time, more than $500,000.

This year of service with direct control of the financial operations of the executive branch — a group often criticized for its big-ticket expenses — has fostered an attitude of fiscal responsibility and pragmatism that will define the Bilas-Kington administration.

This past year, Bilas served as the chief of staff for current President Micah Fielden’s administration, observing and facilitating the day-to-day operations of the administration and developing significant relationships with current members of the UK administration, Board of Trustees and SEC members of the national Board of Student Body Presidents.

Simply put, there is no individual on UK’s campus with better experience than Stephen Bilas, and this experience will translate into a highly effective administration.

While Bilas has extensive experience in the executive branch, Kington has spent her three undergraduate years becoming deeply rooted in SG’s legislative branch. During her time on UK senate, she has served as the chairman of the Academic and Student Affairs Committee and vice-chair of the Appropriations and Revenue Committee, managing all legislation impacting the student body and helping disperse more than $100,000 in grants to UK student organizations, respectively.

While she has had a distinguished career as a UK senator, she has also maintained cross-campus connections through her involvement in UK Leadership Summit. As the student body vice president maintains a close relationship with the Senate, Kington will be perfectly suited to fill this role in addition to her responsibilities within the executive branch.

Bilas and Kington have distinguished their ticket through their selection of college and at-large senators.

In the past, the senator selection process has been criticized by some as a method of “buying votes” from the various constituencies on campus. To avoid this, Bilas and Kington sought out senators who were deeply involved with their college and who were prepared to discuss how they, individually, could work to serve the students within their colleges and constituencies.

In fact, before any senator joined the Bilas-Kington ticket, he or she was required to highlight prior service to the college and outline plans for the upcoming year, if elected.

The careful, purposeful selection process for senators is a prime example of the team-centered, goal-oriented approach that Bilas and Kington have taken during the entire election process.

Finally, consider the candidates’ stated platform. Where past administrations have pushed large, costly projects through the Senate approval process and into action, Bilas and Kington have other plans for their administration.

Before developing another big-ticket project like TallyCats or the Cats Cruiser, Bilas plans to carefully examine the effectiveness and operations of each of the three main projects developed by the past three administrations: TallyCats, Cats Cruiser and the Wildcat Interest Group.

Where improvements need to be made, Bilas and Kington will act in the necessary and appropriate manner to limit financial waste while maximizing the benefits each of these programs have for the student body as a whole.

Simply put, we do not need another hastily formed $250,000 project from SG.

What we do need is an administration focused on how SG can most effectively serve the students, rather than an administration interested in making its mark through a bloated, expensive program that may or may not succeed.

After examining the efficiency of these large programs, they will turn their attention to closer financial management of SG promotional and advertising budgets, opening more resources for direct student services in the upcoming months and years.

Bilas-Kington are not the only two individuals running for president and vice president in the upcoming elections, but they are certainly the most qualified and best-prepared candidates in this year’s field.

Based on their mutual records of integrity and efficient leadership, both will thrive as the leaders of our student body and will serve as the best representation of our great university.