A Joint Resolution Regarding Removal of Citizens Election Program from the Connecticut General Assembly 2017-2018 Budget was passed at the latest Undergraduate Student Government Special Senate meeting, condemning the removal of CEP from the new budget.
Connecticut’s budget has been the center of Undergraduate Student Government debate throughout the past few meetings, with budget talk focusing on the Citizen's Election Program (CEP) this Wednesday during a special senate meeting, which was held in order to discuss the most recent meetings of the state senate and to voice USG’s position on the state budget.
CEP is a state program that provides financial aid to those who wish to run for state legislator who can’t necessarily provide the means needed to campaign on their own, according to the State of Connecticut website.
This program seeks to address the huge impact large financial companies have in state elections and looks to have elected officials that speak for the people, rather than large corporations, according to USG Senator Franklyn Barrueco, who helped write the resolution.
The USG senators discussed in length whether or not they should release a statement supporting this program, and if their support would represent the interests of all University of Connecticut students.
The extended debate grew heated at some points, with many senators questioning the relevance of the resolution to students on campus.
According to Senator Barrueco, the resolution is important for students because he feels that students are often overlooked in state politics. CEP helps students be represented in politics, Barrueco said.
“Our vote matters, students are often left to wayside. This public financing encourages more people to run, so students will actually be represented,” Barrueco said.
Senator Noah O’Connor, who co-authored the resolution with Barrueco, said that only 0.58 percent of Connecticut’s current budget goes toward CEP.
Because of the small fraction of the budget it takes up and the effect that CEP has on the University of Connecticut student body, both Barrueco and O’Connor argued that the senators should vote to support the USG’s resolution to condemn the removal from the new Connecticut budget.
After further debate, voting ended up going into a roll-call style vote, in order to make sure each senator’s voice was heard.
At the end of the special senate, the resolution was passed with a sixteen to nine vote.
“Connecticut is looking to throw away this program, USG wants to fight this in order to get fairer elections so all UConn students will be represented,” Senator Barrueco said.
Molly Desrochers is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.