Paul Heintz is Ready to Fight
With all the commotion around the race for Student Body President, a true shout-out should go to David "Magic" Hankins, the hard-working senior who pushed Instant Runoff Voting through a skeptical Student Assembly. Instant Runoff Voting, in which students will rank their candidates, is the future of informed voting, and this race will mark Dartmouth as one of the first places to use it for a competitive race in the United States. And in a race that depends more than ever before on voter awareness, I felt the need to correct the charges being made against the best candidate for Student Body President, Paul Heintz '06.
I have known Paul since his freshman fall, and despite the good campaigns that some of his opponents have brought to the table, Paul fits the three main criteria people should be looking for in this race: what a candidate stands for, what his record of achievement is, and how well he represents the Dartmouth student body. Heintz's platform is straightforward, born out of the breadth of his campus experiences which range from working for DDS to playing rugby to engaging in political activism. Through it all, Paul has seen what needs to be improved about Dartmouth.
Paul knows from firsthand experience that the Dartmouth judicial system is in dire need of reform. Currently, both organizations and individuals accused of the most trivial violations are prosecuted like criminals in an innocent 'til guilty atmosphere. He will stick up for the students and organizations that take the heat of Parkhurst, and make sure they are protected and given due process. And from a student services perspective, Paul is the only candidate to bring fresh ideas to the table by discussing a "Later Dartmouth," with better late night gym, DDS and library hours.
With regards to his record of achievement, Paul's leadership around campus paces ahead of his opponents, and easily outweighs their weak criticism that his does not have enough "experience" to be Student Body President. Clearly, candidates Martin and Riner believe that experience consists of going to SA meetings.
As a former Student Body President with negligible SA experience before my own election, I can vouch that understanding what people care about Dartmouth is far more important than understanding the minutiae of how the Student Assembly works.
Paul's leadership as president of the Young Democrats for the past two years demonstrated his ability to deal with a large budget, a series of logistical hurdles, and major egos during a long and tempestuous primary season. He showed remarkable organizational prowess in putting together an enormous get out the vote effort in which he led nearly 200 student volunteers.
As Opinion Editor of The Dartmouth, Paul became as familiar with the campus issues as any of the other candidates, and one need only read his weekly editorial to discern his thoughtful opinions.
As an athlete on the rugby team, he understands all too well the financial difficulties club sports teams at Dartmouth endure. Finally, as an officer in Alpha Delta fraternity, Paul is well aware of the major issues afflicting the Greek system.
When it comes to experience, Paul has plenty. How to run the Student Assembly -- that is stuff he can learn in two weeks, and he'll certainly have help from this corner if he needs it.
In fact, when it comes to leadership, it is Brian Martin '06 who hides the thinnest resume. Though a faithful attendee of Tuesday night meetings for three years, and a loud voice in debate, one merely has to look at his own website to ask the question of what he has actually accomplished in three years. There is not one major project, successful or failed, that bears his name.
Noah Riner '06 faces a similar problem with regards to showing substantive achievement. Though he has very strong rhetoric, and a good stance on most issues, he has yet to deliver on any of the major projects he once committed himself to.
The real question that the campus has to ask Brian and Noah is what the Student Assembly is actually accomplishing these days. If they are really the catalysts behind all the initiatives they claim to be, where are the results?
The four SA candidates may all be good guys who believe in the right thing, but having personally endured all the stress, the B.S and the stone-walling it takes to deliver, I believe that Paul is the only candidate with the passion to really shake things up.
The way in which a Student Body President represents the opinions of his or her constituents may be the most important part of the job. Whether it's candid conversation at a reception with Alumni Council members, a short interview with a school paper or the routine monthly meeting with Jim Larimore and Jim Wright, the Student Body President is the de-facto source of student opinion for the people who run Dartmouth College. Students should ask themselves who they want in those settings, speaking on their behalf.
Watching from afar, this has seemed like a relatively tame year, as the Parkhurst forces actually came to the table on SEMP policies. But these are by and large the same administrators backed by the same influences which brought the Student Life Initiative, and the student body must remain prepared and vigilant. No one knows ahead of time what the critical issues of the next year.
The greatest security that students can thus have is to elect a Student Body President who they will know will fight for them. One look at Paul Heintz and you'll know he is fired up and ready to take that challenge. He is ready to fight.