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

    MSU student elected to city government

    When computer engineering major Richard Corey began his college career, he had no plans to become involved in politics. He wasn’t even interested in politics until a year and a half or two years ago.
    But Ward 4’s new alderman had always been interested in community service.
    “I came to the point where I saw politics as a way to give back to the community,” he said.
    Corey, a 24-year-old Columbus native, ran for Ward 4 alderman “because I love Starkville and Starkville is at a very critical point in its growth.”
    Corey has a laundry-list of goals he wants to accomplish during his four-year term on the Board of Alderman.
    In his few months on the Board, he’s already accomplished one: at the Aug. 2 Board of Alderman meeting, he proposed a change in the beer ordinance to allow the sale of cold beer in Starkville. The measure passed 6-1, paving the way for the sale of cold beer in Starkville beginning Sept. 3.
    College Democrats president-emeritus Brandon Bogard said he thinks Corey, a member of the club, is doing a great job so far.
    “He’s done more for the students in his first month than the prior student alderman did in his entire four years,” Bogard, who has known Corey for at least a year.
    The Board of Aldermen has also passed a proposal to build a bike path along University Drive, something else Corey wanted to see happen.
    “I think they’re a sign of a progressive board that’s willing to listen to see and make sure it happens,” Corey said.
    Student Association President Jon David Cole also said he thinks Corey is doing a great job.
    Corey said he also wants to build a new city hall, police department and electric department. At a Board of Aldermen meeting over the summer, he voted to rescind the bond for the bypass location and hold a referendum on the bond and location.
    “Currently our police department and city hall are located in what used to be the [National Guard] Armory,” he said.
    The buildings were given to the city and not really designed for the purposes for which they are currently used, he said.
    He also wants to beautify Ward 4 and Starkville in general, he said. “I’m going to try to do what I can ton resurrect part of the old blighted areas of Ward 4.”
    The beautification of Starkville includes a comprehensive plan to ensure the city’s beauty, he said.
    “The comprehensive plan is sort of a template for what we’d like to see the city of Starkville as.”
    Corey does not only represent students; he sees himself being a voice for all Starkville citizens whether they live in his ward or not, he said. “The majority of my constituents are students, so I see myself as being a strong voice for the students of Mississippi State in Starkville.”
    He said he thinks students want more to do in Starkville. “Students want to get an education and learn, but they want to be entertained.”
    He also wants to address concerns about rental properties and develop bike trails, he said.
    As a member of College Democrats, Corey helped at tables and booths, said Bogard, who became friends with Corey through the group.
    “I’m proud that the city of Starkville elected an all-Democratic board of aldermen,” Corey said. “I think this board will lead by example and show how hardworking and virtuous the Democratic party is.”
    Corey has taken communication with Starkville citizens to heart. He keeps a blog, which can be found at rjcorey.blogspot.com, to keep citizens abreast of city politics. He will also write a column in The Reflector and host a short radio program during the Perspectives radio show on WMSV 91.1 FM the last Thursday of every month at 11:30 a.m., according to his blog.
    He also plans on speaking to student groups and fraternities and sororities, he said.
    Corey said he thinks his age makes a difference in how he is perceived. “I think that as a very young person on the board, I have to work harder to prove that I’m very dedicated to the city of Starkville and that I’m going to work hard for the city of Starkville.”
    But, he said, he does not think his status as a student will keep him from doing his job as alderman.
    After all, most of the other aldermen have full time jobs, he said, and he considers being a student a full-time job.
    Where does Corey see himself four years down the road, when the next city election rolls around?
    “Ask me in three years,” he laughed. “Two years ago I didn’t expect to be where I am now.”
    “There’s no limit to what Ward 4 can do with him as alderman,” Bogard said.

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    MSU student elected to city government