The gavel that reigns over Student Congress will change hands tonight.
Sophomores Connor Brady and Paige Comparato have announced that they are running for speaker of Student Congress, a position that moderates debate during congressional meetings and serves on various advisory committees.
The 94th Student Congress, inaugurated Tuesday night, will vote tonight to elect the next speaker.
Both candidates have called for more transparency as well as greater input from the student body, but have proposed different approaches.
“Congress should listen to the students more and adopt resolutions that reflect the feelings of the students,” said Comparato, the current chairwoman of the rules and judiciary committee.
She said Student Congress can use resolutions to express student concerns to University administration and local political bodies.
Comparato said she also wants to see more direct involvement from students at meetings.
“My favorite meetings were those when there were non-Congress members involved, and I want to encourage that,” Comparato said.
While Comparato favors in-person involvement, Brady sees the adoption of new technologies as an avenue to transparency.
“I’m currently the webmaster for Congress, and I think that we need an overhaul of the site. We should put all our bills and amendments online and use social media to reach out to students,” said Brady, who is also a student representative on The Daily Tar Heel’s Board of Directors.
Comparato and Brady have similar views on many issues, including working to reduce student fees and streamlining the application process for student organizations requesting funding from Congress. But they offered different tactics in dealing with certain issues to come before the body — including a gender-neutral housing option.
“Since Congress is a part of student government, we can only issue an opinion, which we did this year, and then it’s up to the administration,” Brady said.
Comparato said she believes Student Congress can issue resolutions, but also talk to administrators.
“Gender-neutral housing will be coming back up, and I think the administration needs to hear from Congress,” she said.
Beyond policy, the biggest difference might be experience. Comparato has served the entire year in Student Congress, while Brady has been a member for two months, but served as clerk for more than a semester.
“I’ve worked with new members in and outside of Congress, so I don’t think that experience is an issue,” Brady said.
Zach De La Rosa, the current speaker, has worked with each.
“Both candidates have a different vision for Congress, but either one would be a good choice,” he said.
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