While most high school seniors this time of year are looking forward to graduating and then entering college or the workforce, one 17-year old student in Minster, Ohio, has very different plans: to shake 50,000 hands, knock on 25,000 doors, and go to the Statehouse.
Derrick Seaver, a senior at the 250-student Minster High School, is running for representative in the state’s 85th District. At press time, he was the only Democrat who had filed for candidacy, and no Democratic opponents were expected.
Three men, all in their 30s, are vying for the Republican nomination.
“My opponents are going to talk about what they have done, and I will be quick to ask what they are going to do,” Mr. Seaver said in a telephone interview. “My overall belief of elections is that they have everything to do with the future.”
Mr. Seaver, who will turn 18, the minimum age required to serve as a state legislator, on Feb. 6, said he planned to run a grassroots campaign. “I would rather lose down there than win spending a lot of money,” he said.
The candidate said he was encouraged to run by some of his teachers, one of whom is chairing his campaign.
Education will top his list of priorities, in part because both of his parents are public school teachers. His platform includes eliminating the use of school vouchers (currently being provided in Cleveland) and ending proficiency testing of Ohio students.
His plans for his own education have changed as a result of his campaign.
“Right now, I have college postponed until January” of next year, he said. “If I lose, I will start then.”
If he wins, he said, his college of choice, Ohio State University, has agreed to let him take classes part time.
Either way, he plans to stay in politics. “I will run again,” he said. “One day, I hope to make it to Washington.”
A version of this article appeared in the January 12, 2000 edition of Education Week