Flamerich named speaker of the Senate


Katherine Martin

“For the first time in 25 years, an independent student will lead an elected branch of the Student Government Association,” said Ian Sams, former SGA communications director.

Ryan Flamerich, a senator from the College of Engineering, was elected as the first speaker of the Senate at the Senate meeting Thursday night.

Flamerich beat out Sen. Andy Koonce from the Collegeof Commerce and Business Administration, 27 votes to 23 votes.

The last time an independent student was elected to office was in 1986 when John Merrill served as SGA President, Sams said.

Flamerich said he was excited about being elected as Speaker of the Senate.

“When I ran for reelection, I didn’t have the position of Speaker of the Senate in my mind,” Flamerich said. “I didn’t expect it.”

As Speaker of the Senate, Flamerich said he will control the legislative branch, work with Senators to conduct projects and programs to help grow the Senate and make it a more pronounced entity on campus.

Flamerich said he will also make sure senators have the resources necessary to promote student life on UA’s campus.

Flamerich said he refuses to believe that other senators voted for him based on the fact that he is an independent.

“We’ll work together to make sure that individuals from all different parts of campus are represented,” Flamerich said. “Including groups that never felt represented before.”

Will Pylant, a senator from the College of Arts and Sciences, said the speaker position has enormous power.

“Ryan has the opportunity to shape this position in a way that will help all students,” Pylant said. “I think that our student body benefits from a diverse SGA that is reflective of the student body.”

Merrill, who now serves as a state representative, said it is fantastic that Flamerich was able to put together a coalition of Senators to support his election.

“He will be in a position to reflect the entire student body,” Merrill said. “He will have to work hard to represent all student constituents – greek, independent, black, white, male, female, on-campus, and off – and reach out to different groups and try to include them in the decision making process. If he does that, I think he’ll have a successful year.

Seth Morrow, SGA communications director, said Flamerich’s victory is beneficial to the entire student body.

“The real winner tonight is the student body,” Morrow said. “For the first time we have drawn a clear distinction of separation of powers to make our SGA better. We look forward to working with Ryan and other members of the SGA Senate to create a more inclusive SGA.”