VP candidates for MSA profiled

As a preview to tonight’s debate, the Daily spoke with the two candidates.

JP Leider

While Minnesota Student Association vice presidents aren’t as frequently in the limelight as their presidential counterparts, they play an integral role in Forum.

From preparing the budget to taking on official capacities in the MSA president’s absence, MSA vice presidents can profoundly impact MSA’s functions.

As a preview to tonight’s vice presidential debate, the Daily spoke with the two vice presidential candidates, Jeff Tate and Monica Heth.

Jeff Tate

Jeff Tate said giving back to the community is what defines him as an individual.

“I don’t think that anybody would be in the position they are in unless it was for others who gave back and allowed them to succeed,” he said.

A Minneapolis native and African American studies major, Tate is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha.

When he was doing research on historically black fraternities, Tate said, he initially became interested in Alpha Phi Alpha because of current and past members, who include Martin Luther King Jr. and Duke Ellington.

Tate is the fraternity’s treasurer and director of education.

As director he started a mentoring program, Follow the Light to Success, which helps prepare seventh- and eighth-grade students for high school.

He also has served as the assistant director for a program that tutors at-risk youths on how to do well on the ACT or SAT, which Tate himself utilized in high school.

Tate said he has enjoyed being involved at the University.

“Just being involved in the University community has helped me mature a lot and get to know some fantastic people and do some fantastic things,” he said.

After completing his undergraduate education, Tate said, he plans to go to law school, although he is unsure of which field of law interests him.

Tate is running with Anthony Dew on a platform of creating safer and more affordable housing, offering better transportation options and creating a “more cohesive campus.”

Tate said he and Dew want to enjoy their campaign.

“We want to make the University community better and we’re passionate about that, but we want to have a good time and (we want) students to have a good time while doing it,” he said.

Sarah Tuttle, Tate’s campaign manager, said the vice presidential candidate is trying to run a personal campaign.

“One thing Jeff said in our first campaign meeting was that he wants (the campaign) to be a dialogue and not a monologue – I thought that was brilliant,” she said.

The door-knocking Tate and Dew do is not about telling students what the candidates want to accomplish, but about asking what students want from their student government, she said.

“One thing that we’ve talked about on our campaign is how we are looking at what things make it difficult to be students, and ease those burdens,” she said.

Monica Heth

Coming to the University from a small town in Wisconsin, Monica Heth said she was worried she would miss something because of the campus’ size.

Heth, a political science and global studies junior, said she found her community in the parliamentary debate society.

“It (has) made the University feel like home to me – it made the ‘U’ feel a lot smaller,” she said.

She said incoming students should find a group that creates the feeling of community, and she would like to see MSA become that type of group.

“I don’t think MSA can be successful unless it is a viable student group that people want to be a part of,” she said.

Now the president of the debate society, Heth manages the group – which is also a three-credit course – as well as its budget and 28 members.

She said that experience would translate into helping lead MSA well because both jobs require organization and delegation skills.

Shannon Mitchell, a colleague of Heth’s who is an intern with her at the state Capitol and is in the parliamentary debate society, said she is impressed with Heth’s drive and organization.

When Mitchell, who is a University DFL-endorsed at-large candidate, first met Heth as a first-year student in the debate society, she said she thought Heth was an upperclassman.

“Before I got to know her, I actually assumed she was a junior because she was already taking on the role of setting up the debates – she was responsible for a lot of stuff in the organization but she was only a freshman,” she said.

Mitchell said Heth’s organizational skills and “natural ability” to lead would serve her well in an MSA vice presidential role.

As treasurer of U-DFL, Heth said she has enjoyed the fresh perspectives students bring to the organization.

After completing her undergraduate education, Heth said, she would like to take some time off, save some money and ultimately attend law school.

Heth is running with Max Page on a platform of fees reform, addressing textbook costs and fighting tuition increases.

Heth said that while becoming MSA vice president wouldn’t fit into any larger plan, it is a good time to become more involved.

“I can see Max and I are really needed,” she said. “Something needs to happen to increase student involvement with student government.”

Heth said she is a believer in civic participation.

“Participation in government and politics is really important, and MSA is a good example of that on a level that people should definitely care about,” she said. “People should really be involved in the communities around them.”