Editor’s note: This story has been updated on May 3 to clarify that Gaige Baisch was not in Greek Life during his campaign to become ASEWU president in 2017.
In a dramatic come-from-behind victory, junior and former EWU women’s basketball player Key Baker won the ASEWU presidential election by 11 votes over Reilly Responte last week.
While ASEWU is often dominated by people in Greek Life, Baker follows Gaige Baisch and Dante Tyler and as the third non-Greek Life president in a row. Like Baker, Tyler was a student athlete. Baisch had Greek Life experience, but not during his campaign or his term as president.
Responte led Baker after the primaries, 561-377, but Baker won the general election, 533-522. According to the ASEWU election website, there will be a grievance hearing, ‘Responte v. Baker,’ at 4 p.m. on May 7 in PUB 319.
The presidential race wasn’t even the closest one in the election; Kaleb Chastain beat Tyler William Ruby by three votes to become the new technology advancement officer.
In an election that saw 1,093 students vote, four races were decided by fewer than 35 votes.
Madyson Rigg, ASEWU’s public relations specialist, said she is pleased with the elections.
“This election was an exciting one because we had so many students running for positions, and ended up with tight races,” Rigg said in an email to The Easterner. “It is great to see how many students do understand the importance, power and responsibility that ASEWU has in representing student voice to the administration. Thank you to all who ran for positions, and for all who did vote.”
Rigg says ASEWU leaders hope the close results serve as a message to students that every vote counts.
“We still only had 11.9% of students turn out to vote–a process that takes less than 5 minutes,” Rigg said. “When you see that an incredibly important position, like the ASEWU President, is decided by 11 votes of only 11% of the students at EWU, it shows that we really do have a lot more work to do in terms of tailoring our messages, outreach and meetings to meet more than just students who are already engaging in student organizations.”
Baker said coming from behind was exciting, but that she knows her job has just started.
“I’m calm,” Baker said. “I won, and that’s something to be celebratory about. But that just means this is the beginning of some really hard work. The first thing that came in mind is, ‘OK, I have a long road ahead of me.’”
Baker ran on multiple issues before the election. She says she is excited to address those issues once she takes office.
“Some of the things I was campaigning about is wanting to lower the food prices in the PUB, raise awareness of food insecurity and increase cultural competency,” Baker said. “I’d also like to increase the level of activism on this campus.”
Baker is majoring in public health.
“I chose public health because African Americans traditionally rank last when we look at health care statistics,” Baker said. “We are often struggling for a variety of reasons. And so I chose to major in public health because I thought that would be the best way for me to help the health of my community.”
The results of the election are considered unofficial until they have been certified by ASEWU. •
Connor A. Attridge, Executive Vice President
Arturo Diaz, Finance Vice President
Lauren Wells, Academic Affairs
Cole Harrison, Athletic Affairs & University Advancement
Petal Michaud, Diversity Outreach
Maria Petsch, Graduate Affairs
Mikayla Beeler, Legislative Affairs
Zach Bowman, Student Activities
Madison Oliver, Student Health & Safety Services
Kennedy Lentini, Student Services
Kaleb Chastain, Technology Advancement