Connect wins ASUNM vote
Rachel Williams on Wednesday night won the presidency of the Associated Students of New Mexico.
Williams, who ran with the Connect ASUNM slate, received 940 out of the 2,303 ballots cast on election day. She snagged the presidency from Forward UNM’s Isaac Romero, who garnered 742 votes, and Team You’s Colt Balok, who garnered 481 votes.
Williams said she feels very fortunate to be elected as the next leader of ASUNM.
“What a blessing,” Williams said. “This is an absolutely blessing that we were able to work so hard, and that hard work paid off.”
Jenna Hagengruber, who ran alongside Williams in Connect, also won vice presidency, receiving 983 votes. She snagged the position from Team You’s Ayham Maadi, who garnered 682 votes, and Forward UNM’s Zeke Chavez, who garnered 486 votes.
Hagengruber said UNM students can expect nothing but hardworking and honest leaders going forward.
“We are passionate, hardworking and honest,” Hagengruber said. “We truly, truly care about our students here, and we will stop at nothing to prove how much we support and care about them.”
Hagengruber said no student should be hesitant to reach out to ASUNM under their leadership.
“We want to be out there, we want to be public, and we want to be known, and we want them to understand that there is nothing to be scared of,” she said. “We are here purely to support them in every endeavor, we want every student here to succeed. So if they are scared, don’t be. We will come talk to them. We are ready to help them out.”
Hagengruber said their enthusiasm for ASUNM makes them a “dream team.”
Williams said their past experience with ASUNM will benefit them as the undergraduate student government’s next leaders.
“There are a lot of tough questions that we don’t have to worry about learning because we already know,” Williams said. “We have learned a lot about the process of this university through all of that experience. There is a lot of fundamental stuff, and we already have that foundation, so we are just going to keep building on that going forward.”
Williams said there will be an ideological shift within ASUNM under their leadership.
“There is going to be a whole transformation in ASUNM,” Williams said. “Rather than this idea of them (students) coming to us, its going to be more about us going to them and working as a collaborative team.”
She said she hopes to work with Romero, who is currently president of ASUNM, in the future, and that she hopes he will be a source of advice for her.
“Isaac was great. He is great. He was a wonderful president, and he is going to end the year really strong,” Williams said. “I hope that he can give me guidance because he has done a lot of great things, and I really look to him for leadership in this position.” Despite not winning his re-election, Romero said the experience of being the president of ASUNM provided him experience that he could use in the real world.
“This position has changed my life,” Romero said. “It has taught me so much about how to be relatable to people and understand students. That will help in my career with what I want to do. It helps me understand that you can’t trust everybody.”
While he wasn’t elected president, Balok said the experience was well worth the effort. He said he is confident that Williams will do a great job in the position.
“I had such a great time with this election. It was awesome,” Balok said. “Despite that I didn’t get elected, it was still great, and Rachel has the potential to do great things here. I am happy for her.”