Student gets involved with Springdale City Council campaign

Getting involved in local politics is much easier than you might think. Student Council Vice President Pedro Manon has joined city council candidate Derek Van Voast campaign by simply having an issue with the current state of Springdale and searching for a solution.

“I got involved by looking into the candidates for this year’s City Council,” Manon said. “I got involved because I personally saw the city council ignore an opportunity to help Hispanic and Marshallese communities by passing a mask ordinance. They weren’t thinking about the communities that were hurting because of COVID: the Marshallese and Hispanics. After that I wanted to help candidates who wouldn’t do this again.” 

Van Voast, like Manon, was not happy with the current situation in which Springdale City Council was in and was not backing down until these needs were met.

“Somehow I felt the need and really became restless during the pandemic. I grew more and more frustrated with what I learned about the Springdale City Council. Springdale is a diverse city and I feel ALL voices are not heard and some are straight up silenced. Leadership changes are necessary,” Van Voast said. 

Manon consistently seeks out representation for minority groups in Springdale, which is why he finds Van Voast to be a great option. 

According to the United States Census Bureau, Springdale is made up of 63.4% White or Caucasian, 36.3% Hispanic or Latino, and 6.8% Pacific Islander, yet the city council is made up of 100% Caucasian members. There are eight members on the city council, six men and two women.

“I’m helping Derek because I know that he’s someone who truly wants to represent the city. He’s grown up unrepresented and he wants to be the voice for the voiceless,” Manon said. “A lot of people think that Springdale is perfect, but those same people ignore the Hispanic and Marshallese community. Derek is the solution to the problem of under-representation, You never know how important representation is until you realize that you’re not being represented. I help his campaign by telling people about Derek in the community and serving as a translator for him whenever he visits Hispanic businesses and communities” 

These concerns with Springdale don’t just lie within Pedro, but hold true to Van Voast as well.

“I want to celebrate Springdale and embrace all of it’s diversity. I’m tired of hearing voices trying to be heard, and denied a seat at the table by being told “seat’s taken,” Van Voast said. 

Manon believes Van Voast can be the representation the city needs.

“I feel represented by Derek because he is showing that he cares about my community and other minority communities,” Manon said. “He specifically campaigns for these communities, he’s fed these communities, and he works with these communities on a personal level that no current city council candidate does.”

Manon doesn’t just want this representation, but is promised it by Van Voast.

“I want to represent all ages, and I truly believe our future will be better because of your generation, so please contact my campaign, or anyone’s campaign that makes you believe in progress,” Van Voast said.

The Generation Z age group has every opportunity to go in and find the issues within the current society and change them. Like Manon, this generation has the chance to reach out, fight against the status quo and secure the desired future.

“People can get involved by voting for city council candidates who truly work to represent the city. They can also follow Derek on social media and contact him there to volunteer to get him and other candidates of his caliber into the city council,” said Manon. 

Van Voast faces Mark Fougerousse and incumbent Kathy Jaycox for a seat in Ward 4, position 2. Mayra Carillo faces Randall Harriman for the seat in Ward 1, Position 2. Rick Evans and Kevin Flores vie for the seat in Ward 2, Position 2, and Jeff Watson and Tyler Smalling are facing off for the Ward 3, Position 2 seat. Early voting for the general election begins Oct. 9. The deadline to register to vote is OCT. 5.

“By learning more about the community we live in,” Manon said, “people can help through support of the people that desperately need it, just like Derek is doing.”