Key Baker and Reilly Responte face off in race for presidency

By Jeremy Burnham, Managing Editor

The race to become the ASEWU president is down to Key Baker and Reilly Responte after voters eliminated Alaa Almohammed in the primary elections. The general elections are this week.

Baker and Responte allowed voters to get to know them a little better by taking part in the ASEWU candidate debates last week.

Motivation to run

Both candidates talked about what led them to run.

“Eastern has truly become a home to me,” Responte said. “This place means everything to me. Going to college here

Bailey Monteith
Reilly Responte adresses the crowd at the ASEWU candidate debate. The race for president is down down to Responte and Key Baker.

was a huge step in my life. And when taking that step forward, Eastern really supported me.”

While Responte cited his love for EWU as motivation, Baker focused on areas that she believes need improving.

“I’ll be honest in saying that I do not think EWU has been a perfect place,” Baker said. “And I do not think ASEWU has been a perfect student government. I’m very happy to hear that (some of the other candidates) think of Eastern as a home, that’s great … But I do know there are a lot of students on campus who do not feel the same way. We need more representation for students of color.”

Responte talked about his leadership experience as the president of Beta Theta Pi while Baker mentioned her time as an athlete with the EWU women’s basketball team.

Candidates’ message

Responte’s message centered around unity. He said he wants to see more diversity in the hiring practices of ASEWU, saying that the current practices are “too Greek oriented.” He also mentioned that he dislikes how few people remain on campus after their classes end.

“That tells me that people aren’t getting out and doing things in their community on campus,” Responte said. “We don’t really show that we’re a community as one. There’s a lot of individual organizations on campus that act on their own, and basically only participate in events with themselves … I want to make those walls break down and connect all the campus organizations with each other.”

Bailey Monteith
Key Baker addresses the crowd at the ASEWU candidate debate. The race for president is down down to Baker and Reilly Responte.

An important campaign issue to Baker is food insecurity among college students. She said she will push school administrators to make changes to help hungry students.

“I recently conducted a survey of food insecurity on our campus,” Baker said. “Some students had gone an entire day without food to eat. The fact is I have done this research, I have the data … I can tell (the school) ‘hey, I took the time, I’ve done the work and I have this information.’”

Baker also talked about the prices of food on campus.

“I’d like to start a petition talking about the price of food at the PUB,” Baker said. “They are too high.”

More on food insecurity

After the debate, Responte told The Easterner that he agrees with Baker that food insecurity is an important issue. He said he’s proud of the way the school is addressing it.

“One really cool thing that is happening on campus right now is the Department of Community Engagement, led by Brian Davenport, advocated for food pantries all across campus,” said Responte. “You can find them everywhere. Students walk up to them, they open them up and they take food. These get refilled about once a week.”

Responte says he’d like to take it further.

“I’d like to see a centralized location where students swipe their Eagle card and can shop for all the food they need for the week,” Responte said.

Baker said that while the pantries are a step in the right direction, they aren’t being executed as well as they could be.

“While we do have food pantries, we aren’t doing a good enough job promoting them,” Baker said. “A lot of students don’t know that we have them, don’t know where they are or how to access them.”

Polls for the ASEWU general elections open on Tuesday, April 23 and close on Thursday, April 25. To vote, go to There will also be voting booths set up around campus.