Rowlett, Kao make headway, raise issues despite defeat

by Amy Olson

Tense hours of waiting were punctuated by alternating bursts of laughter and hushed silence as Brett Rowlett, Irene Kao and their campaign crew watched “The Simpsons” in Rowlett’s living room.
“I feel kind of like Bob Dole, waiting for the phone call,” Rowlett said.
Their ticket, endorsed by the U-DFL, The Minnesota Daily and the general assembly of cultural centers, garnered 850 votes. Coming in second, the group spent about $400 and countless hours in their efforts to become the Minnesota Student Association’s president and vice president.
“I’ve had about 12 hours of sleep in the last week,” Rowlett said. “It’s been crazy. And I have a midterm tomorrow.”
Kao said she had very little sleep throughout the week as well. She added that their efforts were worthwhile, but campaigning during exams was difficult.
Both Rowlett and Kao are juniors in the College of Liberal Arts; Rowlett has been a member of MSA for more than a year and is co-chairman of the Student Life Committee and chairman of the Diversity Events Fund Committee. Kao also has one year of experience in MSA’s Student Life Committee.
Instead of running on campaign promises, Rowlett and Kao stood on a platform of 11 issues focusing on how to improve University services like parking and food vendors. The pair even suggested implementing a plan to allow students and staff to pay for parking with the U Card.
Rowlett and Kao also wanted to resurrect the old 10th Avenue bus route, which connected the Minneapolis and St. Paul campuses.
Although the pair will not serve as MSA representatives next year, some of their issues will live on: Rowlett and Kao collected extra signatures to get the two referenda items on the ballot.