Make history in Blacksburg today

The following letter to the editor by Bryce Carter and Michael Sutphin originally appeared in the Collegiate Times on Nov. 3, 2009:

This morning, poll workers will arrive at multiple schools, places of worship, the library and the community center in Blacksburg to partake in the democratic process. Candidates and their volunteers will bring yard signs, stickers and campaign literature to the polling places. And voters will select on a touch screen which candidate they believe will best represent the people while in office.

But today is not just any Election Day. It is an opportunity to make history in Blacksburg.

For the first time, the town council and the gubernatorial election are in sync. Many students who would have been preparing for finals, packing or heading home for the summer during the May election will be making a trip to the polls today.

We hope that the change in election schedule will enfranchise students and young professionals not only because we are the only undergraduate student and the only recent graduate at Virginia Tech in the running, but also because young people should have a say in the town’s decisions. Even though Virginia Tech students have made up about half of the town’s population since the school’s founding in 1872, not a single student has ever sat on the Blacksburg Town Council. A town council member — or two — with close ties to the university would be able to bridge the divide between town and campus.

We envision a Blacksburg where locals understand the tremendous talent and creativity that students bring to the town and students realize their real impact on the community at large. We are not two communities — we are one. The Town of Blacksburg and Tech must work together to create a more vibrant downtown, use new technologies and creative approaches to local governance, and ensure that we have a sustainable future that meets our community’s long-term needs.

For too long, students and young professionals have lived, worked and studied in town without representation on the Blacksburg Town Council. Let’s change that. Find your ID or voter registration card, look up your polling location, and make a trip to the polls before 7 p.m. today. You might just make history in Blacksburg.

Bryce Carter
humanities, science & environment major
town council candidate

Michael Sutphin
tech alumnus
communication, ‘06
town council candidate

Reprinted with permission.

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