Do you know anything about Valdosta politics, candidates, or the issues that the community faces? Knowing more about the political issues in Lowndes County is more important than you think. Even though we may have homes outside of this county, we should be informed about the issues that impact our lives here at VSU.
According to a 2009 student report, VSU’s student body represents 156 Georgia counties and 45 states. Like many college students, I am registered to vote in my hometown. Many of us consider “home” a place that is not Lowndes County. The city of Valdosta is where we spend roughly 30 out of the 52 weeks in a year. This does not include students who enroll in Maymester and summer semesters. We may leave for the weekend, seasonal breaks, and holidays, but we spend the majority of our time here in Valdosta.
Why am I going through all of this trouble to remind you how much time we spend in Valdosta? I want to make the point that we should vote to impact the area that we spend the most time in, and we should be knowledgeable about the issues concerning this county. Instead of voting at home or applying for an absentee ballot, registering in Valdosta would be easier and more relevant to each of us. If you are not registered to vote at all, starting in Lowndes County would be great.
Although national politics has heated up with a fierce battle for the congressional majority, the battles in our state and county shouldn’t be ignored. There are local problems and proposals unique to Valdosta that are not covered in the national agenda. For example, a new Wiregrass biomass plant has been proposed to be built in Valdosta. At this plant, employees will burn sewage sludge that will release harmful toxins into the air. Even though you may be from Atlanta or even another state, you still breathe Valdosta air. This will affect the campus community, the greater Valdosta area, and possibly other areas like north Florida. Clean air is more pressing and important than debating over a Senate seat.
The Proposed Biomass project is just one issue that represents the county and state that we live in. Even though we might be here temporarily to get an education, the environment that surrounds us, including the political one, has a major effect on all of the students here at VSU. If you missed the Oct. 4 deadline for the general election, register now and get a head start on the next election. We should be empowered to take a part in our democracy to make sure that the government accurately represents the will of the people; this includes the VSU student body.