The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Columnist urges students to vote

Columnist urges students to vote

By Mathew Shaw/reporter

Bud Kennedy
Bud Kennedy

A newspaper columnist gave a commentary on Texas politics and elections to several dozen SE students Nov. 4.

“It’s not a very important election,” Bud Kennedy, a columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, said about the Nov. 5 statewide elections, “unless you want to buy liquor in Arlington.”

Kennedy was referring to the ordinance that was passed allowing the sale of liquor in Arlington after more than 100 years of it being banned.

Currently, the Texas Constitution has more than 400 amendments, and Kennedy said there will be nine more now.

“We have to vote on almost everything in Texas,” he said. “That’s because we believe in local control.”

Kennedy said the most important proposed amendment concerns water funds. The amendment will take about $2 billion from the state’s rainy day fund and put it toward reservoirs.

“Water is a scarce commodity in Texas,” he said.

Kennedy said elections like this year’s tend to draw about 1-3 percent of voters. He said areas that have higher voter turnout tend to receive more community services, such as streetlight fixtures and garbage pickups.

“The people who vote get more of everything than people who don’t vote,” he said.

The new voter ID laws can impact students, Kennedy said. Students cannot use college IDs to vote, so they have to provide more proof. For example, names on voter cards must match names on voter registration, and driver’s licenses must be current.

“Voter ID has affected everyone in this room,” he said.

Kennedy advised everyone to vote in future elections.

“Go vote just to know if you can vote,” he said.

The next big elections in Texas are in March, and they are the primaries.

“For the last 20 years, all the state officials in Texas were decided in the March Republican primaries,” he said.

Currently, a debate exists in the state Republican Party about college tuition, Kennedy said. Legislators are considering ceasing state-subsidized tuition for university students who remain in school longer than four years. He said the same may happen to community college students who take longer than two years to graduate.

This piece of information concerned SE government instructor Ruthann Geer, who brought her students to the speech.

“The vast majority of my students are working, some full time,” she said. “So the chances of their graduating in two years are nil.”

In the upcoming governor’s race between Republican Greg Abbott and Democrat Wendy Davis, Kennedy said the Democratic Party had a few things going for and against it.

“This will be the first time since 1990 that the Democrats will have a good chance of winning an election,” he said.

Kennedy said a couple of advantages the Democrats have are their good campaign strategies and Davis’ national celebrity status.

Conversely, he said it was an inopportune year for a Democrat to run in Texas because off-year mid-terms tend to go against the dominant party in the White House.

A brief Q-and-A session followed with topics ranging from the recent debates over abortion and birth control (one audience member asked why legislators who are against abortion are also against birth control) and the influence super PACs have over elections.

SE student William Weide said it was his first time voting in an election.

“It’s important to understand the issues,” Weide said.

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