SGA elects first ever speaker of the senate

Olivia Babin

Olivia Babin

The Student Senate elected Olivia Babin to serve as the speaker of the senate, which is a new role, during the first meeting of the 63rd session Wednesday.

The speaker of the senate will serve as the presiding officer of the senate and head of the legislative branch and will serve in the line of succession to the office of the presidency.

Babin, a columnist for The Sunflower, is a senior double majoring in journalism and political science. She has spent the last semester working for U.S. Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY). Babin said she believes that makes her a good fit for the position.

“I’ve seen the way [Gillibrand] interacts with other senators, the way she crafts legislation, and the way she leads with people she doesn’t agree with,” Babin said. “The opportunity to learn from an amazing federal legislator gives me the unique opportunity to bring these skills to our university.”

Babin said she has always been thorough when writing, but her time in D.C. has given her deeper insight into what makes good legislation.

“I have worked closely with some of the best legislators on the hill and learned what makes good legislation, what makes it publicly supported, and how to get it passed and implemented,” Babin said. “I have helped draft letters to different government organizations asking them to do a variety of things. I plan to do that as speaker to push the university administration to work harder for all students.”

Babin also said her college leadership experience has prepared her to be speaker.

“I was able to juggle two leadership positions in my sorority, being an SGA senator, writing for The Sunflower, taking 18 credit hours, and working a part time job,” Babin said. “That takes organization, time management, and prioritization.

“I have since scaled back my involvement because of my interest in this position.”

Babin said she will use her position to fight to make sure all the voices in the senate are heard. 

“Though I am deeply passionate, I have always believed it is best to listen to all sides and attack every problem with all the information,” Babin said. 

She said she will work closely with senators to make sure they have every opportunity to succeed.

“I will work hard over the summer to create opportunities and ideas to get every senator the opportunity to speak with constituents,” Babin said. “I know how hard it can be to do that. And as speaker, it would be my job to give all of you all [the] possible opportunities to succeed.”

With Babin’s election, all executive positions in SGA are filled by women.