Online voting, voter-informing efforts

Welcome back, Wildcats! I hope everyone had a wonderful spring break. The highlight of mine was walking down the streets of San Juan, Puerto Rico and seeing the locals with Kentucky T-shirts on. We have fans all over the world.

Now that we have put away the lotions and oils, and returned to Lexvegas, it is time for the final sprint. Not including finals, we have six weeks left, and Student Government doesn’t plan on stopping until that last Friday.

Let’s start with some good news. While we were on break, the state House of Representatives approved a budget for the commonwealth, and with it came relief. The House members raised the cigarette tax and the gas tax to restore money that Governor Steve Beshear planned to take away.

The news was motivating to your SG members and especially me. In a note from a representative I received Sunday and from the new budget, I know that our hours in Frankfort are paying off!

I commend the House for believing in higher education to ensure a strong future for the state. Now we must look to the Senate and the governor to have the same mindset. This is crunch week, so please take time to e-mail a senator, if not the entire Senate, about supporting higher education and UK. Come in to the SG office if you need help.

This year’s SG elections are coming up next week. Look to the Kernel to keep in touch with the candidates and the forums they will be participating in. Be sure to vote on March 26 and 27.

We have made elections online (something I first put to the senate floor during my sophomore year, but we finally did it) for this year’s elections. And to make sure voters are informed, we have worked with Kentuckians for the Commonwealth to put a series of questions together for all candidates to respond. The answers will be available online for students to see where their candidates stand on issues and how they plan to use their time in office if elected. We will also have printed copies in the office next week. These efforts will definitely help get the most dedicated candidates elected and spur more to vote.

SG is holding a forum with Mayor Jim Newberry and Vice-Mayor Jim Gray at 10:30 a.m. on March 25 in room 230 of the Student Center. Come listen to the mayor and ask questions about the future of Lexington and how UK and its students will be affected.

The SG executive branch continues to fund organizations and events coming up like “A Face and a Voice,” sponsored by the Violence Intervention and Prevention Center. I want to make sure students know that while the Senate’s Appropriations and Revenue Committee is no longer funding organizations, the executive branch is! E-mail me about your event if you have a need for funding.

On the ballot in the upcoming election will be a referendum concerning a $2 fee for the college readership program. Students have overwhelmingly supported the program. For $2, students can have The New York Times and/or USA Today every morning to read on campus. It is my hope the Kernel will support the program knowing it is a great move for UK students.

Take some time to check out our new Web site at! It is so fresh and so clean. We are excited about how easy it is to navigate and edit. We really set up the next administration with a nice deal. As always, if you have questions, message us through the Web site or send me an e-mail, we are easy to find!

Have a great week. And folks: Put a smile on, life is good!

Nick Phelps is the president of UK Student Government. E-mail [email protected].