Geneseo student groups and local politicians are urging students to participate in local upcoming elections.
The March 18 elections are for two spots on the Geneseo Village Board and one for village justice. The two-party battle consists of William Brennan, running for justice as a Democrat, and Bradley Janson running for justice on the Republican ticket. Democrats Margaret Duff and Bob Wilcox are running for trustee (board member) as well as Republicans John Fox Jr. and Thomas LaGrou.
Students will have the opportunity to meet the candidates and hear their opinions on the issues on March 11 at 7 p.m at a location yet to be determined.
In addition, the student organization Think Globally, Vote Locally will be outside the library on March 6 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in order to help students sign up for absentee ballots. On March 11, TGVL will also be available to collect and submit the completed ballots.
For students who will be in Geneseo during Spring Break, polling locations are at St. Mary's Parish Center, the Interfaith Center on Franklin Street, Geneseo United Methodist Church and the Highland Park Depot.
"The Village Board deals with many issues that pertain to students, such as student housing and village-campus relations," said Fiona Murray, chairperson of TGVL. "So we should definitely not miss out on this opportunity to voice our opinions."
The candidates all strongly urged students to vote in the elections and shared some of their opinions on local issues.
Brennan, a retired Geneseo geology professor, urged students to vote and get involved in the political process.
"Students should?become informed,?participate in the exchange of ideas and opinions, and follow through at the ballot box," he said.
Fox also advocated student voting in local elections. He said that he seeks to create an open and accessible government that interacts closely with the college, town and county. He also said that he hoped to, "explore our open spaces and recreational areas because those things are important for the village."
Duff said that she, "doesn't necessarily have a platform." As a long-time Geneseo resident who sees the interaction between the college and the village, she said that she believes, "it is possible to find sensible and timely solutions to the inevitable changes that come with growth... [and that] students should definitely vote in local elections."
Wilcox, who has served as village trustee for the past four years, is determined to tackle issues such as parking, housing, a possible nuisance law and drainage. Wilcox is also supportive of students voting locally.
"We work hard to maintain and grow our relations with the College and the students," he said. "I favor the concept of students registering to vote here because many of them actually live here longer than?some more typical residents."
Janson and LaGrou declined to comment.