Candidate Feature: Chenele Francis

The United States may be entrenched in the two-party political system, but is St. John’s?

Sophomore Chenele Francis would like to think not. Francis, who is running for Junior Senator, may be the only independent candidate running in this year’s Student Government, Inc. elections, but she has steadily grown to be one of the most popular.

“I knew I wanted to run [this year],” said Francis. “I just hope students realize that it’s not just ticket versus ticket – it’s also about the candidates themselves. I want to make sure the right people serve.”

No independent candidates won in last year’s SGI elections, but Francis hopes to change that this year. She is an economics major and served as Sophomore Representative for Tobin College of Business this past year, while also working on the Organizations Committee Chair, among other things.

It’s this experience and dedication to St. John’s that has elevated Francis as one of the most appealing candidates in this year’s election. Her platform, found on www.stjohns.edu, is by far one of the most extensive, emphasizing more advertisements of events, increased cooperation with the Career Center to give juniors more employment opportunities, and greater unity among the entire junior class.

Francis also believes that this year’s SGI election is historic, but not just because both presidential nominees are female.

“This is an election where all the candidates are pushing for more student involvement,” Francis said. “This is not just historic because it’s female versus female. This is historic because there is so much more awareness and involvement.”

The two major tickets – SERVICE and RISE – have been extremely supportive of Francis.

“They’re all experienced candidates and great tickets,” she said, “and they’ve been fully supporting my efforts.”

Maybe it’s her impressive platform, or maybe it’s because she’s an underdog, but students have been responding very positively to Francis.

“I’d vote for her,” said senior Joe Cosmo. “It must be tough being the only independent. I think just the fact that she’d go it alone is impressive enough.”

Freshman Rob Imparato agreed, but also found her suggestions compelling.

“I read over her platform on the Web site,” he said, “and it’s really cool that she has just as much to say [as the other two platforms], even though she’s only running for one position. And her point about unity is a good one.”

Francis believes that she can win despite not running on a ticket. But, as she noted, it will take a great deal of awareness on the part of students.

“I just hope there will be an awareness of experience,” Francis said. “It’s not who you know, but what you stand for.”