Freshman considers campaigning for city council position
Written by Meredith Ramey|
February 14, 2012
Another freshman is considering making a splash on the local political scene by diving into the Williamsburg City Council race this spring.
A Facebook group has been made for Felix Schapiro ’15, who says he will decide on whether or not he will officially run for City Council within the next two weeks.
Schapiro said his campaign is spurred by a lack of student representation on the Williamsburg City Council and that he hopes to fix this problem with the help of the student body.
“I like to think of this as the College’s campaign,” Schapiro said. “I see the campaign as driven by the student body… the primary drive behind the campaign is student rights.”
Schapiro needs about 125 registered voters to sign a petition in order to get his name on the ballot; however, he hopes to have more signatures and an actively involved campus.
“I’d like to urge the student body to get involved, and would really be ecstatic if the student body would help with [my] campaign,” Schapiro said.
Schapiro anticipates centering his council campaign on student rights. Schapiro focused on Williamsburg legislation like the three-person rule, which limits the number of unrelated individuals who can live together, and the 2004 attempt to take away College students’s right to vote on city matters in Williamsburg.
“I feel like this is such a huge opportunity for the College to really change the town in which we live because Williamsburg is our home,” Schapiro said. “I’d like to see the student body think of it as our home.”
This is Schapiro’s first attempt at an elected office of any kind. He states that his campaign is inherently bipartisan, although he personally considers himself a conservative Democrat.
Students share a variety of opinions on Schapiro’s possible city council campaign, but many appear optimistic about student involvement in local politics.
“I think it’s great that students have the self-determination to represent the College within the community,” Samantha Nelson ’15 said.
Some students have expressed qualms about electing a freshman, as he does not have the same experience as other members of the student body.
“It’s good to have someone in the school to have the goals and concerns of William and Mary addressed within the city council, but I would just hope that whoever it is is completely well-versed in the issues,” Cassie Berman ’14 said.
Chris Connolly ’15, a freshman at the College who serves on the planning commission for the City of Williamsburg, was appointed to the position by city council. As a student at the College, he spoke positively about student involvement in the Williamsburg political scene.
“I think student representation and student involvement in local government is something important and something we should strive for,” Connolly said.
Connolly, however, says he, as a member of the planning commission, will not endorse a candidate for the upcoming election.