CalSERVE announced a 13-person senate slate Monday for this year’s ASUC elections, a slightly smaller slate than that of last year.
CalSERVE, a progressive campus political party that typically represents historically underrepresented groups, ran 16 candidates in the last election season, securing seven out of a possible 20 seats — one more than the year before.
The party, which has not held a majority in the senate since the 1980s, is running three fewer candidates than it did last year. CalSERVE elections coordinator Denim Ohmit said the decrease in the number of candidates is a result of the progressive Asian Pacific Islander community, the queer community and the Raza community each nominating one fewer candidate to run with CalSERVE than it did last year.
This year’s candidates are Austin Pritzkat, Baltazar Dasalla, Benji Delgadillo, Eric Liu, Haley Broder, Ismael Contreras, Juan Heredia, King Xiong, Lavanya Jawaharlal, Madaly Alcala, Melissa Hsu, Nancy Thi Pham and Yordanos Dejen.
The party has traditionally represented underrepresented groups, including the Chicano and queer communities, and has expanded its representation in recent years to transfer and re-entry students and student parents.
The nominees come from a wide range of communities, including Engineers Without Borders and the progressive Greek community. Traditionally, Student Action, CalSERVE’s rival student political party, represents members of the Greek and engineering communities.
According to Ohmit, the candidates were selected through a lengthy community town hall process in which CalSERVE community members reviewed their qualifications and asked the candidates relevant questions to ensure that the candidates can effectively advocate CalSERVE’s progressive values.
One of the senatorial candidates, Pritzkat, is running with a joint endorsement from the Cooperative Movement Party — which did not win a senate seat in last year’s elections — and CalSERVE. His candidacy marks the beginning of a formal partnership between the two parties, after a history of alliance dating back to 2007 when the Cooperative Movement Party was first founded.
“Each candidate comes from different backgrounds and experiences, and CalSERVE is pleased to have candidates from constituencies that we’ve never represented before but there is community support and buy-in for each and every one of them,” Ohmit said in an email.
Delgadillo, a sophomore running with the endorsement of the queer community, would be the first openly transgender senator in ASUC history if elected, according to Ohmit.
“Maybe at other schools, I, as a queer person of color, wouldn’t have the same support or access to run for student government,” Delgadillo said. “CalSERVE is a multicultural coalition, and so it provides a really important opportunity for me to be in solidarity with other groups.”
The party’s candidates’ platforms range from developing a student-run support system for sexual assault survivors within the ASUC to developing the first-ever engineering and entrepreneurship expo to bring engineers and entrepreneurs together.
Student Action announced 15 senate candidates Sunday, and SQUELCH! announced its three-person senate slate Feb. 17. Two independent candidates endorsed by the Middle Eastern, Muslim and South Asian Coalition announced their senatorial candidacy March 6.
The 2014-15 ASUC general elections will take place April 8, 9 and 10.