By Lloyd Benson III
Citing the fact that he’s been to campus before and has personally shaken hands with a couple of students, once or twice, Binghamton Mayor Richard David announced this past week that he will be forgoing an attempt at a second term at the city’s helm to run for President of the Student Association.
The move, widely unexpected by local political pundits, was announced via Instagram and, for some reason, picked up by local news organizations. Mayor David took questions from students in the comment threads, though some feel he offered few answers.
“I asked him repeatedly about his record on improving city parking, eliminating the Binghamton Human Rights Council, rerouting the DCL bus to Riverside Drive, and how those will impact his work as President, but he just told me he has experience working on political campaigns, and deferred questions to some friend of his in Johnson City,” said sophomore history major Andre Jenkins. “He also said he’d release his platform by writing it in chalk on the Peace Quad over Parade Day weekend.”
Classes will not be in session Parade Day weekend, and it’s expected that five separate rainstorms will wash the platform away by the time students return. Mayor David’s campaign manager was not available for comment, and Mayor David did not answer our question directly.
Some expressed concern over David’s candidacy, citing a lack of experience in the SA. While most SA Presidents have served in the SA Congress, community government, or other campus organizations, Mayor David has never held office in the SA, and for some, real life government experience just doesn’t cut it.
“Don’t get me wrong- it’s nice to see someone putting themselves out there, but I just don’t see how Rich David can balance being an adult with managing a $5 million non-profit,” said undecided freshman Jacklyn Warner.
Other students believe David can bring noticeable change to the area. “Mayor David may be the only person who can win the fight against Sodexo,” said senior economics major Travis Reynolds. “I don’t know if he’ll bring in new food, but looking at his record of creating food deserts, I’m confident he’ll be able to finish off Sodexo once and for all.”
But a good portion of the 36,898,323,517-comment thread was filled with outrage. “This is ridiculous!” said junior human development major Brianna Warren. “First townies live next to our houses, then they teach our classes, then what? They want to control our government? I’ll be damned if our Student Association is gonna be another example of upstate interests infiltrating our communities to build their resumes!”
But David remains optimistic. “Many people see this as a joke, but just as the SA is a serious organization, I too am 100% serious about this,” he said. “It’s not always about how much experience you have, or if you’re 20 years out of college, or if you’re even allowed to run for the position. I want to make a big difference, and I think SA President is the right platform to do just that.”
At press time, all seven members of the Binghamton City Council declared “Fuck it,” and put up Facebook pages declaring their candidacies for SA President as well.