We have been told by folks who know that young voters will be an important factor in the 2008 elections. Locally, there is some evidence of that. The UA Associated Student Government asked the Washington County Election Commission to authorize an on-campus early voting location on campus, but that proposal was vetoed by the Republican Party representative on the commission. There still will be voter registration drives on campus and elsewhere during the next month.
It is encouraging to see several young candidates seeking public office this year, and some of them are serious about making a difference. A young fellow named Josh Jenkins is promising a new day in Springdale and running for the Chickendale Council. UA graduate student Abel Tomlinson is the Green party nominee for Congress, and UA sophomore and Wal-Mart Associate Sami Sutton is running for Mayor of Fayetteville. Matthew Petty, a young college dropout who describes himself as a "social entrepreneur," is running for City Council in Fayetteville, and Adam Fire Cat, a young stripper and award-winning bus boy from the Village Inn, is running for Mayor.
I have rather enjoyed the whimsical campaign being waged by Adam Fire Cat for Mayor, and he has the best yardsigns of any candidate. He has a website of sorts, and you can learn more about him in the personal and issue interviews in the Fayetteville Flyer.
Adam was motivated to enter the race not for personal ego stroking but because of concern about the issues. One of the other candidates in the race has a habit of filing code complaints against students, and the incumbent candidate acts those complaints. As a result, Adam and his roommates were evicted from their home because they were in violation of an ordinance that limits four vehicles per driveway. Given that experience, you can better understand his libertarian notion that "excess ordinances are choking the life out of Fayetteville."
Sami Sutton says she is running for Mayor because she decided in ninth grade that she wants to be President, and if she doesn't get elected mayor, she will run for the state legislature. In other words, it is all about Sami wanting to hold some office or, at least, get some attention. As one of her friends said, "She knows what she wants and is going for it." You can learn more about Sami from her Facebook page with almost 500 friends, mostly from Fayetteville, that mistakenly says she is a Hendrix College student.
Sutton is not running on her experience but says she wants to clean up Fayetteville, because some parts of it "are gross." She is also big on "developing more after-school and weekend programs for Fayetteville's youth, such as a video gaming center." In a feature in The Traveler, the UA student tabloid, Sami said, "We graduated from Fayetteville high, and there is nothing to do after school besides movies or bowling, that's all. We need some place where kids can just hang out. If kids go to a coffee shop, for instance, they [the owners] want them to buy stuff. There's Locomotion and bowling, but they're expensive and soon get boring." Sutton did not elaborate on which taxes she would raise or what other programs she would abolish to pay for the video gaming center hangout.
It is all good fun, as it should be.