Senate votes in speaker of the senate and senate president pro tempore

Speaker of the senate Sharon Behar addresses the senate during debate. Behar was voted in as speaker of the senate on Thursday night. Photo by Thalia Torres

At the senate meeting Thursday, Sharon Behar was voted as speaker of the senate taking over Crystian Cepeda as the head of senate, as well as Anthony Minute as senate president pro tempore who took the reins from Behar as she stepped up in leadership.

“I’ve watched and learned from some of the most amazing senators who’ve left a mark on my heart,” Behar said.

Behar ran against Scott Gerstel to move up as speaker of the senate. Although Behar came out on top, Gerstel remained positive.

“No matter what you guys do today, you guys are going to make a good decision,” Gerstel said. “I believe that either one of us could hold this branch to a high standard.”

During the debate, senators defended Behar and her work ethic. External legistlative assistant Alexis Szelwach said Behar has not only the experience but the drive and motivation to make sure no one fails in their position.

Cepeda spoke highly of both candidates saying that both have been interested in learning more from him about the position but urged the senate to vote in favor of Behar.

“She has been one of the biggest advocates for this organization, and she has not just been a yes woman,” said Cepeda, a senator for the College of Engineering and Computer Science.

The speaker of the senate acts as an unbiased representative of the senate between the Judicial and Executive branch and handles all affairs of the Legislative branch.

Behar won speaker of the senate with a vote count of 33-5-2.

In the election of senate president pro tempore, Gerstel decided to also run for the position against Minute after being unable to become speaker of the senate.

“I feel that I truly have a full grasp of anything that could potentially go through the office for years to come,” Minute said.

As senators came to Minute’s defense, Mohamed Ibrahim, senator for the College of Medicine, said he accredits his participation in the senate to Minute.

“He’s poured his heart into everything that he’s done, and I think he can do the same for pro tempore,” said Sierra Scott, a senator for the College of Health and Public Affairs.

Jessica Brennan, a senator for the College of Sciences, spoke in favor of Gerstel and his willingness to speak up for the senate and the students saying that his opinionated nature is valuable to the senate branch.

The senate president pro tempore is responsible for the delegation of the registered student organizations (RSOs) to the senate, leads the funding of RSOs and oversees the bills process.

Minute won senate president pro tempore with a vote count of 31-5-2.

With the new leadership, Behar plans on closing the gap in communication between all three branches within SGA to form a more cohesive government for the university.