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Abby Tillotson pulls ahead in First-Year senator runoff race

Courtesy of Abby Tillotson

Abby Tillotson was announced the victor last Tuesday as she accepted the position of this year’s first-year senator, in which she will represent the class of 2026 at the Student Senate level. 

Tillotson ran on and is committed to inclusivity, listening to the needs of her constituents and valuing each and every student on the Drake University campus. 

Though the election went into an expected runoff, Tillotson still expressed positivity until the very end, speaking highly of her opponent Eli Bensen and the campaign process in general. 

  While hosting and applying herself in her many campaign events to promote her campaign and slogan, ‘Don’t Be Crabby, Vote For Abby,’ Tillotson has immensely enjoyed getting to know firsthand the many Drake students that she now represents. 

“I genuinely want to know your name, what your major is, all the dirty details (about you),” Tillotson said. 

When asked how she would make the first-year senator position her own, Tillotson said she “will work on establishing profound relationships.” 

“I’m not just your first-year senator, I don’t care about the title. I genuinely want to get to know people,” Tillotson said. “I will listen to people and hear what they have to say.” 

As a future medical professional and a mental health advocate, Tillotson understands the importance of open communication and dialogue, laying out the concerns and opinions of her constituents. 

“I want (the first-year class) to know that their voices will be heard,” Tillotson said. “I want them to feel confident that they can come to me (about) something that’s going on in their life. How are they doing? Mentally, physically, all of that stuff.” 

Along with listening to the current first-year class in her new role, Tillotson is specifically eyeing the future to protect and improve the experience for future incoming first-years on Drake’s campus. One specific initiative that Tillotson has in mind to improve the Drake environment is to update the setup of Welcome Week. 

“I would definitely like to work on communicating with the Student Activities Board to make the Welcome Weekend more focused on the freshmen class’s time and needs,” Tillotson said. “It shouldn’t be so formal. It should be more like (hosting different events). That transition from being at home all the time to being in a random place is so hard, and it needs to be acknowledged.”

Tillotson is currently on the pre-med track with the goal of becoming a pediatrician. Although she doesn’t expect to go into politics, she is still committed to giving this rare opportunity her all. 

“I want to help people,” Tillotson said. “I’ve been through health issues, so I want to be that person to support kids through their health issues and through whatever they’re going through.”

Like every other senator, Tillotson will be required to have two drop-in office hours a week, which she states will be held at the Starbucks in Olmsted, although the time is currently undecided. Students can reach Tillotson at her Instagram accounts, @abby_tilly1 and @abbytillotson_fys, for any and all questions, concerns or comments on the direction of the class of 2026. 

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