The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Guest Opinion: Elizabeth Cunha for City Council Place 4

Photo by Provided

City Councilwoman Elizabeth Cunha writes a letter to students at Texas A&M as she seeks reelection to the City Council Seat 4.

Editor’s Note: Every election cycle, The Battalion invites local candidates to make their case to students. 

Should the state of Texas be able to prohibit religious services of religious organizations?

Should “the legislature provide an exemption from ad valorem taxation … of the residence homestead of the surviving spouse of a member of the armed services of the United States who is killed or fatally injured in the line of duty?” 

Should the city of College Station hold its elections in even years or odd years? 

These are just a few of the issues awaiting your vote in the Memorial Student Center, Room L526 on Tuesday, Nov. 2. 

If you are not registered to vote locally, you certainly know people who are. Use your influence to remind them to vote. 

I, Elizabeth Cunha, am on your ballot for re-election to Place 4 of the College Station City Council. I have been on council for just 11 months and hope to secure a three-year term with a win this election.

Aubrey Nettles, former manager of economic development for the city of College Station said this about me, “Now that I no longer live in College Station I can say [that] a vote for Elizabeth Cunha is a vote for someone who truly cares about College Station and ALL of its citizens, someone who works tirelessly to do the right thing. Someone whose vote cannot be bought or bullied and someone who is always eager to learn and engage. Y’all vote.” 

I have lived here my entire adult life. My husband earned his master’s degree at Texas A&M, my son currently attends A&M and I am also currently taking a Spanish class on campus. 

I have served on nine different city committees, boards and commissions. From the Audit Committee to Planning and Zoning, my experience is broad. I have chaired the Parks and Recreation Board and currently chair the Bicycles, Pedestrians and Greenways Committee. I also sit on the Transportation Committee. Enhancing mobility options is a priority to me. 

College Station City Council is nonpartisan; my goal is to be accessible and accountable to all residents. During the last year, I have accepted every invitation to meet with the students at A&M. I attended the Elect Her luncheon, spoke at the Student Government Association Candidate Forum, spoke to Texas Rising as well as Ignite. I have spoken to the YoungDems and College Republicans. I have also accepted every invitation from individual students that wanted to meet in person and via Zoom. I also set up a table at Wolf Pen Creek Amphitheater after Snowmageddon to hear residents’ reflections and concerns. 

I voted against the ROO — the restricted occupancy overlay that offers neighborhoods a restriction to impose a no more than two unrelated persons home occupancy limitation. 

I voted against acquiring more debt.

I voted for relaxing regulation on chickens to allow more homeowners the opportunity to raise chickens if they wish. 

And I voted against what is listed on your ballot as Proposition C. This is the proposed amendment to move city elections from even years to odd years. At first glance, it may seem like much ado about nothing — but I believe it is the most important item on your ballot. 

Odd-year turnout is a fraction of even-year turnout. The city presentation during a city council meeting on Feb. 11, 2021, slide three explains that in 2020 70 percent of voters turned out, but in 2019 only 6 percent voted. In 2018 turnout was at 57 percent, in 2017 it was a measly 9 percent. And the pattern continues. 

Odd years net a small fraction of the voters that even years bring to the polls. Democracy should be government by the voice of the people, not by the voice of the few. 

The biggest challenge in an odd-year election is just reminding people there is an election going on. Take the challenge, ask 10 random people today if they know there is an election happening. Last year, I dare say everyone knew. Putting Proposition C on a ballot in 2021, an odd year when history indicates an anticipated low voter turnout, if we should move all city elections to odd years did not sit well with me, so I voted against it. 

Tuesday, it is your turn.

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