The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

    Care about other issues

    Students have begun to show more interest in city elections, but they do so with little regard for others.
    As city elections near, campaigning is taking on a new pace. Though student involvement in politics is a wonderful thing, students have to remember that they are not the only group that matters in Starkville.
    Just as special interest groups lobby Congressmen, students’ interests in the city are the same-special interests. The goal of students here in Starkville should not be to take over the city by electing student-oriented officials throughout. If only students are represented, who is looking out for the other 20,000 residents?
    There are issues that plague this city beyond bar hours, cold beer and sidewalks. Money, for instance, is a critical concern. Starkville must take great care not to become another Columbus, a city who has run out of money.
    Some of the issues of which students have no understanding are things such as employment opportunities and, well, money.
    The university is the major employer of Starkville. If you are not employed at Mississippi State University, you do not have that many alternatives. Many married couples face this issue. If one partner is employed by the university, the other often finds himself or herself underemployed or not employed at all.
    The city needs money to operate. Starkville cannot grow into the city that all students wish to see without addressing the money that is brought in.
    The two percent tax gets quite a bit of hype, but that is not a major portion of the city budget. The two percent tax is not aimed at just students; other residents pay the tax as well.
    One tax most students do not pay, however, is property tax. Most students also do not go to the Board of Alderman meetings. Most students do not have children that go to local public schools. Most students do not have an interest in the city’s well-being beyond their stay. Since students reside in Starkville typically for four years, a large part of which they spend out of town, students are asking for more representation than they deserve.
    The fact is there are too many issues that affect the lives of the full-time residents of Starkville. Most students do not understand the implications of who is elected to mayor and aldermen.
    If students really want to be proactive, they should not only lobby for themselves, but also for the betterment of the community. Without addressing the issues of the community, Starkville will never be the city students want. The only way to increase the standard of living is to increase productivity.
    Voting is a very special right. For many years, students attending college were disenfranchised. It is great that students are able to vote while at college, but students must understand they are guests in this town. The right to vote should not be abused by negligently throwing unqualified candidates into offices because they are student-friendly.
    Pitifully, a majority of students do not even exercise their right to vote here on campus. Students are mostly apathetic when it comes to politics. The current Student Association administration has been adamant about increasing political awareness, and that is admirable.
    However, before the collective student body attempts to play hardball in city politics, students are actually going to have to organize.
    In this last SA race, only half of the population of students voting last year voted this year. That is ridiculous. Just over 1,500 students voted. One-tenth of students are interested enough to elect the student body president. Yes, students are a force to be reckoned with. Look out, Starkville.
    One candidate for mayor this year suggests that students should be good neighbors and good residents. Students should follow his advice by realizing that they are not the only residents in this city.
    All students should understand the issues before they get involved. Think about people outside the 18-25 age bracket. If you choose to vote, vote as an individual and not a student.
    Make a difference by participating in city politics not trying to control the city. This is not the ’60s; there is no need for a student revolution.
    Brandon Bogard is a junior accounting major.

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    Care about other issues