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UISG backs council candidate Patel

BY KRISTEN EAST | OCTOBER 05, 2011 7:20 AM

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Raj Patel officially has the support of the University of Iowa Student Government.

UISG passed the Raj Patel for City Council Endorsement Act at Tuesday night's Senate meeting. The action was previously tabled because some senators believed Patel, a candidate for Iowa City City Council, should formally ask UISG for its support.

Patel attended the meeting Tuesday to do just that.

"I can't win this election without your support," he said. "The student population makes up a significant portion of the population in Iowa City, and it's absolutely essential that we work together to help achieve the Iowa City that we all want. There hasn't been a student elected to City Council in 32 years, and this is the opportunity for us to make history together."

Although the move passed, some senators remained hesitant about whether endorsing Patel was the right action to take.

Several senators asked Patel to speak on behalf of the controversy between him and the media, as well as between him and UISG after Patel and UISG leaders disagreed on the reason Patel resigned his UISG post last month.

"I'm not here to speak about the past," he said. "I'm here to speak about the future."

The act was created by Sens. Blake Riffel and Joe Van Zant after Patel announced his candidacy. Riffel said the legislation was previously tabled because some senators wanted to have Patel and part-time UI student Michelle Payne attend the Tuesday Senate meeting to speak on their own behalf.

"The main reason we did table the legislation [on Sept. 20] is because we wanted the opportunity for everyone who was a student to come in," Riffel said. "Patel was the only person who chose to capitalize that opportunity. If we're looking at someone who is willing to come in, that really speaks volumes to the undergraduate students."

Speaker of the Senate Nic Pottebaum emphasized that he didn't invite Patel or Payne to Tuesday's meeting. Patel was invited by Riffel and Van Zant.

Sen. Brittany Phillips noted that Payne's campaign is in no way similar to Patel's.

"It was very difficult to find information on the other candidate," Phillips said. "All [UI] students know where Raj is coming from."

Sen. Abbey Moffitt said supporting Patel by passing the act was the right action to take.

"It's a student running," she said. "We're a student government."


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