Bloom elected SGA president

Bloom+elected+SGA+president

Mark Hammontree

Nearly an hour after polls closed Tuesday night, Hamilton Bloom sat in a side room of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house awaiting a phone call from Kelli Knox-Hall, faculty advisor and convener of the elections board.

When his cell phone finally rang, a small group of his friends and campaign team looked on, many of them filming him, while Bloom listened to Knox-Hall on the phone, straight-faced. Then his hand came down on the table as a wide grin broke on his face, and the room erupted.

“Alright, sounds great. Thank you very much,” Bloom said as he hung up the phone, and his supporters gathered around him cheering once again.

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Bloom won the Student Government Association presidential election with 6,378 of the 10,276 votes cast in Tuesday’s elections.

“I’m just really, really excited, you know,” said Bloom, a junior majoring in political science and history. “I’ve put so much work into this. Honestly, it’s the culmination of a three-year process where I’ve worked as hard as I can with the SGA, and I’m just really fired up to implement all these projects I’ve been talking about for the past two weeks.”

The polls were scheduled to open at 7 a.m., but technological mishaps Tuesday morning led to the election board’s extension of the poll hours from the original 7 p.m. closing to 8 p.m. A little after 8:45 p.m., Bloom received the phone call letting him know he had won.

On the other side of campus, Justin Thompson and his supporters had gathered at T-Burger to await the election results.

While Bloom and his team were celebrating their victory at SAE, Thompson and his friends were reacting to the news of defeat. After he heard the news, Thompson told The Crimson White the results, while disappointing, were not too surprising.

“It’s about as expected,” Thompson, a junior majoring in public relations, said. “I think it’s almost eerily similar to the David Wilson group by number. I’m happy we got people back voting again. The faculty senate, the Unite Alabama project [and] Sydney Page as the SGA Director of Engagement were all working on get-out-the-vote campaigns. Obviously I’m slightly disappointed, but I know that I made my mark on this campus.”

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Thompson said he hopes that Bloom will prove to be a successful leader of the SGA, but he has his doubts.

“I’m hopeful,” Thompson said. “I think that Hamilton has the capability, but I don’t think that he possesses the true passion for all students that it requires to be SGA president.”

The candidates for the other SGA executive positions were alerted via email shortly after Bloom and Thompson received their phone calls.

Christopher Willis, who ran unopposed, won executive vice president, and Stephen Keller, a sophomore majoring in finance, economics and Spanish, defeated Elliot Spillers, a sophomore majoring in business management, for vice president for student affairs. Keller and Willis were both at SAE with Bloom when he received the phone call.

“I am absolutely ecstatic and humbled to be the next vice president of student affairs,” Keller said in an emailed statement Tuesday night. “I want to thank every student who voted. This campaign was for you, and I cannot wait to get started. The work is just beginning, as it is now time to hit the ground running and make UA a better place for every student!”

In the race for vice president for academic affairs, Laura Gregory, a junior majoring in political science and public relations, defeated Chris Simmons, a junior majoring in political science.

“I am humbled and honored to have been elected to serve as the next SGA Vice President for Academic Affairs,” Gregory said in an emailed statement. “I am sincerely grateful for the incredible support I have received throughout this campaign from friends, family, classmates and teammates.”

In the remaining contested race, Polly Ricketts, a sophomore majoring in economics and finance, beat out Khortlan Patterson, a sophomore majoring in religious studies, for executive secretary.

“I am excited to begin working to increase transparency between the student body and the SGA, as well as implementing numerous initiatives around the UA campus,” Ricketts said in an emailed statement. “I look forward to serving all students at The University of Alabama, and I am very excited about this opportunity to serve.”

Drew Bridges won vice president of external affairs, and Andrew Gross won vice president of financial affairs, both running unopposed.

Bloom said he would celebrate the victory but would not set aside much time to take a break before getting to work on his projects, with the priority being his proposed diversity caucus for the SGA.

“I might take a day, but honestly, besides that, I’m going to hit the ground running because we have a lot of big ideas we’re trying to do to help the students,” Bloom said.

Andy McWhorter and Chandler Wright contributed to this report.

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