Election reflection

November 4 was truly a historic day for America, for better and for worse. A multiracial President-elect shows how far we have come, while a failed California measure called Proposition 8 shows how far we have yet to go. In Story County, there was a spirit of progressivism as we voted as a majority for President-elect Obama and other progressive candidates. Unfortunately, students, and even other community members, overlook some of these elected officials that are more local. Everyone who is elected plays an instrumental part in our future. Locally, two Iowa House members soared to reelection: Lisa Heddens and Beth Wessel-Kroeschell. "Whether it is educational issues, job creation, recreational opportunities, healthcare, etc., students need to be vocal in sharing what their vision is, for not only themselves, but for Iowa’s future," said State Representative Lisa Heddens, when asked about the importance of students remaining vigilant in local politics. If we as legislators do not hear from you, we tend to think that everything is ‘OK.’ Change occurs when we know what this issue is and then devise a plan to work together on some level to address the issue." Heddens explained her desire to help students on all levels: "Whether attending community college or a university, I will continue to work to keep tuition increases minimal to help keep higher education costs more affordable. [I will also] work to increase the work-study program." Not only are local officials commonly overlooked by students, but elections in other states that will affect us in Iowa are also overlooked. In California, a constitutional amendment titled Proposition 8 barely passed, to the surprise to many people. In May of this year, the California Supreme Court overturned the state’s gay marriage ban. Many fundamentalist lawmakers and religious groups fought for the measure to be given to the people to decide in an election. This was granted, and what ensued was a bitter fight for the passage of an amendment banning gay marriage. While November 4, 2008 will go down in history as a day that illustrates how far America has come and how many barriers we have smashed, we must not forget the dangers of complacency. We cannot allow a few religious groups and fundamentalists to ruin the spirit of change in America. Also, we must remember that all elected officials should be held accountable for their actions, and if concerns arise, then our officials must be addressed. The fight for true progress in America must go on, from House members in Iowa to the President of the United States.