City council elections will take place May 5, and early voting is in full swing this week. Although college students don’t typically participate in local elections, we believe one candidate should catch the attention of students in this election. Alex Russell is the youngest candidate running for Abilene City Council Place 2.
Russell will offer a needed boost of youth to the Abilene City Council and can represent a large swath of the Abilene population which has often been overlooked by the Abilene City Council.
Abilene has a lot going for it – cheap housing, a median resident age around 30 and many niche restaurants with loyal customers. In population size and median income, Abilene is similar to Waco. Yet, if you were to poll residents of Texas, we’d imagine that Waco would be named the more desirable locale. Part of this would have to do with how it’s a more central location in Texas, but besides that, Waco is just viewed as a more attractive place for young people.
We are unsure of what it would take for Abilene to be viewed in the same light as Waco, but we know Alex Russell offers the most comprehensive vision for attracting young talent and jobs to this city.
Abilene needs representation for underrepresented minority groups, entrepreneurs and business professionals.
On her website, Russell says “As your city council representative, I will represent all of Abilene. I will host events, community conversations, and work every day to connect ALL the demographics that are shaping Abilene. All our voices, backgrounds and values should culminate to bring the best ideas together to prosper our city and her people. I can make these connections.”
This kind of language is absent from other candidates platforms and sets Russell apart. Russell offers representation for these groups in more explicit language than any other candidate. If Abilene is to be great and become an attractive area for business, these populations need to be elevated to a place of higher importance.
Russell offers a breath of fresh air from the city-wide stagnation we have witnessed during our time at ACU. Because college students are temporary residents, we have been overlooked by past city council members.
In a statment to the Optimist regarding her goals for college students as a councilwomen, Russell said “My main goal is to get them registered to vote and voting. As far as after graduation its to keep them in Abilene and find them a job. We’re working with Abilene Young Professionals and Campus Connect to pair students with young professionals in their industry. We’re trying to open up building opportunities so young entrepreneurs can have a place to come in and renovate instead of having to build a new building.”
Russell is uniquely equipped to accomplish these goals as she has worked in Abilene since 2014 when she graduated from Texas Tech.
We may not be here for long, but Abilene is our home, and we should participate in voting to make it a better place. It is important to start civic engagement in college so that we do not take our right to vote for granted as we get older.
As college students, we bear a responsibility of sorts to leave Abilene in a better place than we found it. We are only here for a short time, yet our time here will impact us greatly and so too should we impact Abilene. We can do this through getting involved with a local church, Young Life, or World’s Backyard and we can vote for Alex Russell, a candidate who will bring real change to Abilene.