North Texas Daily

UNT student runs for local city council

UNT student runs for local city council

March 26
08:48 2013

Trent Johnson

Senior Staff Writer

With the last day of registration for city council candidacy fast approaching, one UNT student hopes for a big turnout from his peers as he attempts to represent District 3 as a member of Denton’s city council.

Economics, political science and philosophy senior Thomas “Griffen” Rice plans on turning his passion for government and appreciation for Denton into a successful city council race. The last day for voter registration is April 11. Early voting is from April 29 to May 7 and Election Day is May 11 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

“I’ve always been interested in government in general,” Rice said. “Living in Denton has made me appreciate the city a lot. I’m going to be here for the next two years so I want to help it grow.”

After Rice joined UNT Democrats, mechanical engineering senior Mary Brown convinced him to run, Rice said. He said only one other student expressed interest in running.

Rice is now among the ranks of UNT students who ran for city council in the past, including alumni Andrew Teeter and Sam Casey who ran in 2009. Neither was voted onto the council.

“I haven’t seen them have success,” city councilman Kevin Roden said. “You have some folks who have political ambition and some good ideas, but they sometimes miss the local issues voters care about. They lack connections to the Denton audience.”

Roden also cited time as a major setback for previous student candidates because of typical course loads. Rice said he can still make it work.

“I will only be able to do school,” Rice said. “I would have to give up my clubs and probably take an easier class load.”

Rice said he is focusing on environmental issues like fracking, renewable energy and waste management. He also believes UNT students should have more say in the community, even if they don’t have a representative.

“I think we’re really important because we make up a third or a fourth of the population,” Rice said. “We should be more involved.”

Rice plans to campaign in his district by going door to door and enticing students to vote by spreading the word through friends and hosting tables on campus.

“If I got Kerr [Hall] to vote for me I’d win,” Rice said. “But they probably won’t, whether they don’t know me or they don’t want to vote. Students often don’t vote for a plethora of reasons.”

Some students hope Rice’s candidacy inspires others to be more involved.

“You have a lot of people who are apathetic towards government and I’m glad he’s going out there to get people involved,” studio art junior Adam Kalar said. “I just think that’s a really positive influence.”

Rice plans to use his campaign experience in the future for either graduate school or to join the Peace Corps after graduation, while staying politically involved.

“I want to be in government because it’s my outlet for helping and serving others,” Rice said. “Location doesn’t matter to me as long as there are people who need help, I want to participate.”

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1 Comment

  1. Sam Casey
    Sam Casey August 06, 17:17

    What was the outcome of the election?

    I’m available for comment the next time a student runs for city council – I have some more insight than Kevin Roden!

    -Sam Casey

    Reply to this comment

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