Alex Mills will be the first graduate student in recent memory to serve in the position of speaker of Student Congress.
Mills, who previously served as speaker pro tempore, will replace Deanna Santoro, who stepped down to pursue a case against the Board of Elections earlier this month.
Mills was nominated by members Adam Horowitz and Kristen Johnson, and he ran unopposed after Zach De La Rosa, chairman of the rules and judiciary committee, refused to accept a nomination for the position.
Although the term only lasts one more month, the role of speaker will still be prominent in the coming weeks as Congress gives its input on the annual budget talks.
“My priority is the annual budget bill,” Mills said. “Let’s be honest, we have one month left. Let’s get it done and get it done right.”
The contest to fill Mills’ former position as speaker pro tempore proved to be the more hotly contested.
Horowitz and De La Rosa were both nominated for the role, which is the second-highest position in the body and is seen as a stepping stone to the speaker position.
De La Rosa was elected to the position by a vote of 21-5.
De La Rosa said he decided to run for speaker pro tempore rather than speaker because Mills was already serving in the role on an interim basis.
“I decided to because Mills is the presiding officer of Student Congress and is doing an excellent job,” De La Rosa said. “Next year will be a different term.”
In their explanations for running, De La Rosa and Horowitz both pledged to work through the annual budget discussion and to focus on the recently debated Title VI election law.
“We need the budget process to go smoothly,” Horowitz said. “I’d like to work on Title VI to prevent all of these lawsuits. This (election) process was a slap in the face to Congress. There were so many violations out there.”
De La Rosa agreed with Horowitz and said he was happy to fill the role of speaker pro tempore.
“The pro temp’s job is to work with the speaker,” De La Rosa said. “I am happy to work with Adam on Title VI, looking at referendums.”
De La Rosa highlighted his experience as the chairman of the rules and judiciary committee.
“I do understand all of the rules moving forward and would be more than happy to help people in this congress,” said Rosa.
To fill De La Rosa’s former position, members nominated Evan Ross, who served this session as the vice chairman of the rules and judiciary committee, and Congress representative Todd Michalske.
Ross was elected by a vote of 19-8.
The 92nd session ends in late March, and the election for leadership of the 93rd session takes place in April.
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