If you took a look into Glen Thurston’s childhood bedroom, you wouldn’t find posters of presidents or heads of state. You wouldn’t find pictures of the White House or models of monuments. And yet, Thurston decided to become the first BYU student in recent memory to run against a BYU professor in a city council election.
“Growing up I was more into math and science,” Thurston said. “If you would have told me even two years ago that I would be running for political office, I would have told you that you were crazy.”
Thurston, a chemistry major, 21, from Provo, hopes to be an unbiased voice for residents of Provo’s 3rd District. The district covers areas of southeast and southwest Provo with about 13,000 registered voters.
“I’m trying to bring a fresh perspective to the City Council,” Thurston said. “I feel that I am unbiased and uninfluenced by special interest groups.”
His opponent, Hal Miller, a professor of psychology, hopes that his experience and calm demeanor will help him win over voters.
“I felt that there was a sense of things not right in the city council and local legislator,” Miller said. “I know that my own experience, interests, and resources could make the situation [in Provo] better.”
This election should provide special intrigue to BYU students as their vote could have a large impact on the outcome on this election. Candidates James Kallabacka and Richard Wood are also on the ballot in the 3rd District race.
Quin Monson, a professor of political science, said while Thurston’s age may color some people’s perception, neither candidate would seem to have an immediate advantage over the other.
“Anyone of student age would be at a disadvantage because the perception would be that the student is too young, or too inexperienced,” Monson said. “On the other hand, these local elections are quite permeable. If the student is an aggressive candidate, a good campaigner, articulate on the issues, and attempts to communicate with voters, then that disadvantage goes away.”
Justin Brockbank, 18, from American Fork said that whoever wins the election will be a voice for student interests.
“I think by electing someone from the BYU family, students would feel more comfortable approaching them,” Brockbank said. “That candidate would have to take into account what people on campus have to say about the issues.”
Students, faculty and staff interested in participating in the vote can visit provo.org for details on polling locations and the candidates.