BugPAC Campaign To Reclaim State College Holds Launch Rally In The HUB
Student leaders Terry Ford and Kevin Horne (also an Onward State editor) launched political action committee BugPAC in the HUB Tuesday night with a rally for students to hear from endorsed mayoral candidate Michael Black and Borough Council candidate Evan Myers.
Horne and Ford introduced the movement and explained the importance of reclaiming State College for student interests, as students represent 70 percent of the Borough Council’s constituency but are essentially ignored by much of the current Borough Council.
“Dozens of student leaders from a diverse range of organizations have been working diligently over the past year to find pro-student candidates to run for Borough Council who would represent the interests of all residents, regardless of your student status,” Horne said. “We’ve endorsed four great candidates who we believe will take this town and take the Borough to new heights.”
In addition to Black and Myers, BugPAC has also endorsed graduate student and current GPSA Vice President Marina Cotarelo and Penn State Director of Student Orientation and Transition Programs Dan Murphy.
“Us ‘bugs’ have had enough,” Horne said, referencing the campaign’s name that comes from an offhand comment made by current Borough Councilwoman Theresa Lafer, who implied students would coalesce “like bugs” around lights if the Borough installed them in downtown alleyways.
“No longer will our Borough representatives be able to get away with calling students low-lifes, miscreants, drunks, and bugs and manage to keep getting elected over and over again,” Horne said. “We can transform this Borough into a welcoming place for students and those long-term residents who appreciate the energy that students in college towns create.”
With the low voter turnout that occurs because many students have already left town by the time of the primary election, Ford reinforced that electing BugPAC candidates is attainable if students register to vote in State College and request absentee ballots.
“The problem is that the primary is in May, when thousands of students leave the area and are not voting,” Ford said. “In what other town can elected officials continually insult 70 percent of their constituency and still get reelected year after year?”
Horne and Ford opened the floor to BugPAC endorsed mayoral candidate Michael Black, who moved to State College as a graduate student and now owns a creative studio in State College. Black emphasized five core values important to him in his campaign — inclusivity, mindfullness, empathy, creativity, and vibrancy — but said the most critical asset in State College is talent.
“If we harness the people talent in this town, imagine what we can do,” Black said.
Borough Council incumbent Evan Myers explained his history coming to Penn State as a student and working in the student government at the time. “I’ve always felt that it’s important to give voice to everyone — homeowners AND students,” Myers said. Two of his children are currently students at Penn State.
Leading up to the primary election, BugPAC will continue to facilitate voting registration and absentee ballot requests. To hear more about the impact student voting can have on local elections, you can watch Terry Ford’s State of State address here. You can get more involved in the campaign by filling out a form on its website to show your support and volunteer to help register voters.