Butler-Baker win SG alliance, begin to appoint student leaders

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After surviving a runoff election and a series of campaign infractions, newly elected Student Government President Natalie Butler and Vice President Ashley Baker are gearing up to begin their new term in office. Butler and Baker are the first female executive alliance to be elected into office. Butler, a political communications and Plan II senior, said once they appoint several key student leaders, they plan to further the efforts made by the Scott Parks administration to lobby the Texas Legislature for more funding, to redesign the SG website and to implement the suggestions made by the reform task force. They will kick off their administration by appointing new students to fill the more than 100 positions of the executive board: policy and agency directors, staff and external appointments among others. Butler said their first order of business is to appoint an executive team. She said they plan on soliciting for executive board positions this week and are hoping to attract a diverse pool of applicants. “We plan on appointing a team of students who are excited to get involved and work for the betterment of the student body,” she said. “We were very excited to see so many students involved during campaigning this spring and are hopeful many will apply for these positions.” Applications as well as information about each position will be available online on the SG website. The team has started to meet with the current executive board, administrators and staff to draft applications for SG appointed positions, Butler said. They are currently creating a plan to implement the reforms and platform goals the executive administration will focus on. Butler said since next year is a tuition-setting year, she will sit on the Tuition Policy Advisory Committee, hoping to open up the budget process to more students. “The first part of our platform that we plan to tackle is getting students more involved in the budget process,” she said. “We want to make the process more transparent and get student input at every step of the way.” Baker said she predicts tackling the budget process will be their most challenging initial task, but she is ready to get to work on it. “This will be a very intense fiscal year for the University, state and nation, and we have our work cut out for us in ensuring that students are affected the least by the proposed cuts to education funding,” Baker said. She said now that campaigning is over, the team is excited to begin establishing a hands-on relationship with students. “As student leaders, we simply want to ensure that each Longhorn has the best experience while at UT, and hopefully, by our actions while in office, this will have been accomplished,” she said.