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Brett Buzzini, 2008 Presidential Platform Response

Created 29th February 2008 @ 22:48
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2008 is shaping up to be the year of the outsider, a year of real and meaningful political change. I hope it will mean the same thing for JETAANY.

Like Barack Obama, I feel I’ve met the threshold for necessary experience– in Japan, in grad school at Columbia, and here at the Japanese Consulate, that qualifies me to be president. Most importantly, I have the outside perspective and ideas that will help to bring new energy to JETAANY. Let me say first that I appreciate Megan’s work as Vice President, but with all do respect, this isn’t the US Senate, and you don’t need to have been Vice President to be President of JETAANY.

I’m not running because it’s my turn and I think it’s owed to me. I’m not running because I want this on my resume to make me look good. I’m running for president because I think the outside experience will bring fresh new insights to the table and improve this organization.

Good to see Megan update her platform. Interestingly, I wasn’t aware you could “update” platforms. Since there’s no delete button, I will assume Megan asked her friend (and JETAANY webmaster) to replace her older, small paragraph of a platform, although I would urge her to leave it up, so those voting can see all her ideas, and how they’ve evolved after I put up my platform. I will leave mine up so people can compare.

I’m happy to see some of my ideas incorporated into Megan’s platform, such as volunteer outreach, leveraging our relationship with outside organizations, etc. I think they are good ideas (that’s why I suggested them!) and I would like to see them happen no matter who becomes president. But I want this to be about ideas and accomplishments, so let’s talk about that.

Megan wrote that after being Vice President for a year, she now sees what needs changed. I would say that she should have worked on that already. I don’t see one new idea or novel accomplishment that she mentioned.

For her accomplishments as Vice President Megan listed cultural events that recur annually, like the Softball tournament for example. I’m not sure how you can claim credit for something that reoccurs every year. If anything, JETAANY has dropped the ball on this event, by not reaching out more, as I know they have actively done in the past here at the Consulate. I would like to broaden the scope of the activities JETAANY undertakes and the people who participate in them, and I think as an outsider, my views and opinions would help make that happen.

Another accomplishment Megan listed was cultural events. From my experience at the Consulate, I also know that many outside organizations contact us, just like they do JETAANY, to offer free tickets to events, requiring just passing on the offers. So again, I’m not sure if these types of cultural excursions can be labeled as accomplishments.

As for new ideas, Megan mentioned “improving” the pre-departure orientation for JETs before they leave for Japan and the returnees’ conference (which I already mentioned in my platform when I suggested inviting employers to the conference to help get jobs and not just rewrite resumes). Of course, for the pre-departure idea, not only is this not a new objective and a vague goal, but as an employee of the Consulate, I would be in a better position to actually coordinate behind the scenes to improve the experience and implement JETAANY’s suggestions.

I would like JETAANY, instead of just drifting by on cruise control, to become more active, inclusive, original, and effective. I would do what I insisted in my platform: work to leverage the power of our vast membership to get discounts to institutions and events that will actually be useful for our members—

helping JET alumni to improve their language skills by bargaining for discounts to language programs at Japan Society and elsewhere

network between more JET alumni and the Japanese community in the New York area

get former JETs jobs instead of just helping write resumes, and help them to transition back to life here in the US after they return

volunteer to help make our communities better and raise the profile of our organization

work with the Japanese Consulate, Japanese Mission to the UN, and Japan Society to coordinate event planning and increase participation

Obviously these ideas have already influenced my opponents’ thinking on her agenda and stimulated her to strive to make it better than before. If that’s all this accomplishes, then I will consider it successful, but if I win, I feel I could do even more to improve JETAANY.

If you think JETAANY can be better and do more for you, I urge you to vote for me.

どうぞよろしくお願いします。

As the webmaster of JETAANY.org, I felt it necessary to respond to a comment made by Brett Buzzini. I did not edit Megan Miller\’s platform online. Any JETAANY officer with a login can make changes themselves. In the interest of fairness, if any non-incumbent candidates would like to make edits to their platforms, I would be happy to make those changes for them.

Lee-Sean Huang
Webmaster, JETAANY.org

As I\’m running for president, I think it\’s only fair and natural that I have a chance to air and defend my views on the direction of the organization and how I feel it should change.

You obviously have a different view of how it\’s going, and you can express that in your vote, or via email to me as you suggested, rather than respond publicly.

You can vote for whoever you want for President, and you can do so privately. If you have concerns, then feel free to email me about them. I\’m comfortable with the process playing itself out- people reading our platforms, thinking about JETAANY, and voting.

Take care.

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