Our view: A little local involvement, please?

DKS Editors

We’ve been called apathetic, uninvolved and sometimes even lazy. But in the last presidential election, we showed that our generation has something to say. In New Hampshire, a 20-year-old college junior took her involvement to the next level and ran for her county’s treasurer post – and won.

Vanessa Sievers, a Dartmouth College student, unseated the 68-year-old incumbent Carol Elliott by 586 votes. All it took, Sievers told the New York Times, was a $51 Facebook ad.

After Sievers’ victory, the county’s Republican chairman Ludlow Flower said students had no place in local politics.

“College students are not involved in local things at all,” Flower said to the New York Times. “They’re only involved in Dartmouth College. They don’t buy property here, they don’t pay taxes here, so they’re not concerned with how the treasury is handled.”

Let’s prove the naysayers wrong.

Young people running for office and winning or coming close to winning are not uncommon – even in Portage County. Just last year, then 19-year-old Brett McClafferty, of Streetsboro, faced 20-year incumbent Chris Smeiles for the Democratic Party’s nomination for one of the county’s commissioner seats. McClafferty garnered about 40 percent of the vote. In May 2007, McClafferty ran in the Streetsboro mayoral primary and lost by only one vote.

We’re not asking you to be as involved as McClafferty or Sievers – though it would be nice. We are, however, interested in educating you about what’s happening locally.

Just because many students haven’t spent their entire lives in Kent or don’t buy property here doesn’t mean we don’t have an interest in how things are run. We’re responsible for following the city’s ordinances. We have a huge interest in the local economy. After all, Kent State is the reason this town even exists. We aren’t going anywhere.

We’ll be the first to admit it. Kent news isn’t the most exciting thing to read in the Stater. The sudoku or horoscopes can be much more appealing. But next time you see a city council story, you might just benefit from reading it. If you’re feeling adventurous, take a trip to a city council meeting. Council meets at 7:30 p.m. the third Wednesday of each month at 325 S. Depeyster Street. It isn’t rare to hear some concerned residents talk negatively about students. It’s your turn to dignify them with a response.

After all, do you know what’s going on locally? Did you know several city council members are being recalled? Did you know there’s a major redevelopment effort downtown and city officials want to hear from you about what you’d like to see? Did you the know Kent Police were investigated by the FBI just last year? Did you know Kent’s city limits exist far beyond Ray’s Place and the Water Street Tavern?

If you answered no to any of these questions, we have a problem. Do something about it.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.