With just over a month of campaigning behind him, President-elect Cesar Hernandez said it’s time to start mapping out his next steps.
Hernandez, a senior majoring in biomedical sciences, was speechless when he and running mate Spencer Montgomery were announced the 2010-11 Student Government (SG) president and vice president at Wednesday night’s election results announcement in the Marshall Student Center’s Oval Theater.
The victory comes after voting discrepancies prompted an internal investigation and a recount delayed the initial runoff election, scheduled after Hernandez’s campaign led the general election results but did not have 50 percent of the vote. The investigation found 255 votes were a result of students voting more than once.
“I have to put everything down on a blueprint. I need to write everything down – our entire vision,” he said. “My platform is great, but that is just the bones. I need the muscle, I need the blood, I need the body.”
And he plans to start with the help of those who inspired him and even those who ran against him – Daniel Dunn, Tim Moore and Christopher Leddy’s campaigns, which all endorsed Hernandez following the general election.
As soon as Hernandez and Montgomery enter office, Hernandez said he wants to open up communication.
“I’m going to go to (SG) Senate and basically humble myself before them and let them know I can’t do anything without their support,” he said. “I am going to go to (USF) St. (Petersburg) and address the senate over there and the executive branch.”
Hernandez also plans to hold a sustainability roundtable with experts such as Yogi Goswami, a USF chemical engineering professor.
“I’m ecstatic, but I know we have a lot of work ahead of us,” Montgomery said.
Their campaign received 1,488 (57.5 percent) of the 2,587 total votes.
“I was overwhelmed,” Hernandez said. “We work so hard for it, and when it actually happens, it’s there. It’s still marinating.”
Runner-up Andrew Cohen and running mate Matthew Diaz received 877 votes (33.9 percent). Of the total votes, 222 students (8.6 percent) selected no preference.
“Cesar and Spencer are good men,” Cohen said. “I think that the student body saw that untrue men ran, and those men didn’t win, and that’s what matters. The students got a good leader.”
Cohen is the SG director of University and Community Affairs – a position that ends in May. After that, he said his future as an SG employee is up to Hernandez.
Hernandez said it would not be a successful year as president if he did not inspire any students.
“You can do amazing things in one year, but it’s not going to amount to anything if the next person that comes in just goes back (on that),” he said. “It’s going to be a big year, and I need to start re-motivating these people.”
Hernandez and Montgomery’s inauguration is April 22, and they officially take office “the first Monday following Spring Commencement,” according to the SG Constitution.
Students also voted on whether they should have mandatory health insurance and if they would support a one-cent tax increase to fund the construction of the Tampa Commuter Light Rail Project.
Sixty percent (1,550 votes) voted “no” for health insurance, 22 percent (568) voted “yes” and 18 percent (469) voted “no preference.”
Fifty-one percent (1,327 votes) of students voted in support of the tax increase, 34 percent (881) voted “no” and 15 percent (379) voted “no preference.”