By Thomas Corey |
Fresh off of his re-election win as Johnson City Village Board Trustee, Benjamin Reynolds is “honored” to have been chosen to continue to serve the needs of the community, where he came in first place in the polls, with a 200 vote lead. The board holds two seats for Trustee, making him and Martin Meaney both board members. However, a better village is not all Reynolds is working towards; he is also a student at SUNY Onondaga, where he is earning his degree in political science.
“As a student I have been able to offer a different perspective that other students may not have, and to create conversations. I hope to encourage other people my age to get involved.”
As a student, Reynolds realizes he is unique in that not many of his peers are also local politicians. “It’s intimidating at first, but being involved in your community as a student should be celebrated, and not thought of as a daunting task. Each person’s voice matters. Get involved in your own community to start. It’s good to have an understanding of infrastructure. We have to be able to work within the system we are given.” Reynolds urges students to become involved locally, as he believes representation is important.
Reflecting on the few months, Reynolds is proud to have served the people of Johnson City during one of the most difficult times in recent history. He states “I was the only member of the village board who voted against raising taxes in the midst of the pandemic, when we know people are struggling the most.”
As a student himself, Reynolds is keen on looking out for other students. As some Binghamton University’s students come into Johnson City for housing, Reynolds encourages them to ask for a free code inspection, prior to signing a lease. “We should be keeping a registry of homes that are rental property, so that we can make sure the landlords are being held accountable for their properties, to prevent high paying rents for poor quality housing. Students have the right to make sure their housing is up to code.”
Reynolds states that the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in 2018 sparked a call to action for him as a community leader. Alongside the protests around the globe, Reynolds led the march locally and was a speaker at Binghamton’s “March for our Lives” rally, which drew a crowd of hundreds. “The momentum created by March for our Lives showed the power that young people can have.”
As Reynolds holds office for two more years while finishing his degree, he looks towards the future enthusiastically, “I’ll be happy to stay in public service as long as the people allow me to do so.”