October 23 , 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 30  

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Student in Thames race

By Dan Perry and Marshall Bellamy
Gazette Staff

"That's the way we've always done things," said Dave Forestell, a Thames Valley District School Board trustee candidate for Wards 1 and 7 and a first-year Western law student. "I think it's time for new ideas," he said.

So why Forestell? What sets him apart from the other candidates? "My age," he laughed. "The oldest person running is 88; I'm 23. I'm not on the board right now - when the whole board's running for re-election, you don't have any new voices being heard."

Forestell said as a recent graduate of the public education system, he experienced problems facing the school system. "It's time to take the politics out of the classroom and allow students to learn in a conflict-free environment," he added.

Forestell said there should be more accountability and transparency in the School Board and that all trustees should publish monthly trustee updates as only the volunteer non-voting student representative currently submits monthly reports.

"I'm seeking a mandate as well - I'm trying to make sure voters are educated on their positions," Forestell explained, citing people have a tendency to vote according to what they have done in the past.

Forestell said his two years of experience as president of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Youth Organization has given him organizational skills.

"I bring a voice that doesn't exist to the school board for Western students, who make up around 10 per cent of London's population and aren't consulted except during the brief election period," Forestell stated.

Forestell said he hopes the political awareness the SmartVote campaign brought to campus during the provincial election will continue, considering that in the last election, only 150 of Ward 1's 10,000 eligible voters came out to the polling stations. "I just hope people take the opportunity to vote," he said.

The municipal and trustee vote takes place on Nov. 10.




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