UW-W junior fills District 2 seat

UW-Whitewater junior Stephanie Abbott was appointed the District 2 seat of the Whitewater common council at Tuesday’s council meeting.

Competing against two UW-Whitewater students for the seat, Abbott was assigned the position after thorough consideration by the council.

Abbott

Abbott is replacing former Councilperson Javonni Butler, who was forced to vacate his seat in October after pleading guilty to distribution of marijuana.

“It was really exciting to find out I got the seat,” Abbott said. “It’s something that I have always wanted to be a part of. It’s the next logical step in my political career.”

Abbott is a political science major with a double minor in English and French.

As the current speaker of the senate for Whitewater Student Government, Abbott said her decision as a freshman to join student government was the most pivotal moment in her college career. She will finish her term as speaker of the house on student government at the end of 2011.

Abbott said representing students is the most important factor for her.

“I think it’s really important that students have a voice,” Abbott said. “I think there’s always a little bit of a concern that there’s a disconnect between the community and the campus and I think that a lot of efforts have been made to improve that relationship. I really think that as a student representative it gives me an opportunity to kind of be a good communication between the students and the other members of this community.”

Along with trying to improve relations between campus and the community, Abbott said she hopes to implement on-campus office hours for the city council.

Abbott said there isn’t always the same one-on-one interaction in city council compared to student government, so she would like to set up a similar scenario for students to be able to speak with the student who is representing them.

“I think students are always affected by city government whether or not they’re aware of that,” Abbott said. “To be able to interact with them and say, ‘What are the issues that you’re concerned about? What Can I do as your representative?’ And then to be able to take those ideas back to the city council and explain to them what students are interested in and what they want.”

Abbott said she has been following politics since a very young age. Many of her political icons began at the city council and local level.

“It’s just a big moment for me to see that next step and think about my future with the council and the city of Whitewater,” Abbott said.

After achieving her undergraduate degree at UW-Whitewater, Abbott said she plans to go on at a graduate level hopefully in Washington D.C. Her ultimate goal is to become a governor.

As the District 2 alderman, Abbott will represent Arey, Benson, Clem, Bigelow, Lee and Fricker Halls. She will also be the voice for all of the apartments north of Starin Road on Tratt Street; including the University Inn, the Royal Apartments and the College Commons.

If anyone chooses to run against Abbott for the aldermanic District 2 seat, the seat is on the April 2012 ballot.

“We tend to pay attention to national government,” Abbott said. “People know who the president is and who the vice president is, but really in your day to day life, local government affects you on a much greater level. It affects you when you go to the cross walk. It affects when you have to stop at a stoplight. It affects when you get pulled over. There are so many local government issues that students don’t even necessarily realize they’re being affected by. I’m just bringing in kind of a fresh perspective and an opportunity for students to see how much city government can affect them and how they can make a difference as well.”

Abbott invites all students to contact her with any issues or concerns.