For Foster, winning student votes means putting substance over style

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February 18, 2010

11:31 PM

Finally, one of our own is going to be on the Williamsburg City Council. This is the general consensus that appears to be circulating in the classrooms and dorm rooms of the College of William and Mary. But is this the case? Let’s examine the facts and see what Scott Foster ’10 himself has to say about this issue.
More than 1,000 people — mostly current students — are fans on Facebook of Foster’s candidacy, but nowhere on the page does it say that Foster is a student, except in small blurbs where The Flat Hat says so.

Also missing from the Facebook page are policy positions of any kind. On his campaign website, Foster does say he is a student at the College, but no policy initiatives or problems he would address are mentioned. We are expected to believe that Foster will work in our best interest because he is one of us for the next few months, but we have no way of knowing because he has made no campaign promises for which we can hold him accountable. If he is elected under the current circumstances, we have no control over his agenda. We as students would have no right to complain if he misrepresents our opinions because we are not holding him to the standard we would expect from any other candidate.

Clearly, Foster assumes that his status as an undergraduate at this institution entitles him to the votes of all undergraduates registered in Williamsburg. John McCain used this logic when he picked Sarah Palin as his running mate in the vain hope that she would bring female voters over to the Republican camp. As the shellacking McCain took on Election Day shows, women are not so naive. Policy positions do, and should, matter.

I urge Foster not to make this same mistake. If he were to come out with an outline of the policy initiatives he plans to enact during his term on city council; if he were to show us how he would convince the other members to support these initiatives we would have something to look at and discuss. Then, with the full set of facts, we would be able to make an informed decision about whether or not to support Foster in his bid to be on city council.

I want to support Foster’s candidacy for city council. I think it would be highly beneficial to the student body and to the city at large to have a representative who speaks for the students of the College on the council to address our issues and concerns.

It is clear to me that a candidate such as Sean Driscoll would clearly not be better for students, given his track record on the planning commission. That does not mean, however, that Foster has a monopoly on student-friendly policies. If another candidate came out strongly in support of student rights in the city, by all means, we should vote for that candidate.

Let me repeat that Foster is the student body’s greatest chance for having a voice in the City Council. However, he owes it to all students and city residents to actually come out with policy initiatives that would convince us to vote for him.

I’ll be waiting, and I urge the rest of the student body to withhold support of the Foster campaign until he does have a platform firmly in the public eye.

E-mail Zach Marcus at [email protected]

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