Before he even heard the official Facebook live announcement, Jared Hunter knew that he had claimed an unofficial victory in the 2017 SGA presidential election thanks to a celebratory roar, yelled by his campaign staff, close friends and fraternity brothers, that enveloped the entire Theta Chi fraternity house on Tuesday night. Unofficial results had Hunter winning with 54 percent of the student vote.
After he pulled himself away from a jubilant group hug, Hunter sought out one of the most important members of his rise to SGA presidency: his mother, Loria Hunter.
Loria Hunter was an invaluable part of his campaign, providing both emotional and physical support, according to Jared.
“She was my rock,” Hunter said, “She was the person I called when I was excited about the campaign graphic. She was the person I called when I got the news on Tuesday night about my blackout violation. She drove in today to help me for 12 hours on the last day of campaigning. She was everything to me.”
Hunter’s success and ability to win the election came as no surprise to his mother. “When Jared and his sister were little, I would say to them, ‘you guys have an opportunity to grow up and do great things,’ and I think he has showed me that he is in fact capable of incredible things,” she said.
While Hunter said that he could not thank his mother enough, she wanted the credit for Hunter’s victory to go to his father, the campaign staff and Hunter himself.
“I’m so happy that he was able to be his own person and I’m proud that he surrounded himself with so many good people. I’d like to take responsibility or credit for that, but I think it came from his dad,” Loria Hunter said.
One of the “great” people Loria was referring to is Caitlan Cobb, Hunter’s campaign manager and a junior majoring in political science.
Cobb, who has been close friends with Hunter since high school, is ecstatic to see the hard work of Hunter and his campaign staff translate into a presidential victory.
“I’m overwhelmed, ecstatic, and so excited for the future of this campus and how Jared is going to impact it. All of the things that we went through as a campaign team has made this win even more special and sweeter than ever because we faced and overcame a lot,” Codd said while fighting off tears of joy.
After a few more celebratory hugs and handshakes, Hunter retreated to call one of his opponents, Gene Fulmer, to congratulate him on a well-run race and to offer him a position in his cabinet.
“Gene is a great guy. Anybody who meets him understands that he’s got a pure, jovial spirit about him,” said Hunter. “I called him to offer him a position and to tell him to know that I was extremely impressed and with him and the way he managed his campaign.”
About his other opponent and current SGA president Lillian Roth, Hunter stated that she was an incredible representative of the student body and that he hopes she will remain as engaged in SGA as she was as president over the next year.
Hunter is already dialed in on what he hopes to accomplish once he takes office. He said that he will first rely on his connections with Dr. Grady, the Vice President of Student Affairs, and other administrators to expand the amount of Tuscaloosa restaurants that accept dining dollars.
Even though his campaign was filled with “the highest of highs” and “the lowest of lows,” Hunter believes that he has learned lessons from it that will help him significantly when he is in office.
“I have learned to treat everyone with respect. Everybody has a different story, and that until you’ve spoken with them and walked in their shoes you can’t understand it,” Hunter said.
On how much power he will give “The Machine” during his presidency, Hunter said “None. The presidency is my own as I’ve said multiple times before. The ideas are my own and clearly they resonated with the student body so I’m really excited to begin working on them. As far as I’m concerned, I’m going to focus on what I pledged to the student body.”