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A 17-Year Old Talks About His Campaign for the Ohio Senate

February 1, 2000
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Derrick Seaver, who this month becomes old enough to vote, is running for state representative in Ohio's 85th district, which lies near Dayton and includes Wapakoneta, the hometown of Neil Armstrong.

Seaver talked to Workforce about his campaign plans, his platform and his generation.

 

Workforce: Tell me a little about you. What you're into.

Seaver:: Well, politics dominates my time, especially these days. However, I enjoy professional athletics and I have a girlfriend who I have been dating for a year and half. I consider myself a pretty popular person and I enjoy all forms of social interaction. It goes with the territory.

 

Workforce: Why are you running? Why are there no other Democrats running?

Seaver:: I'm running for the same reason that I hope all candidates run. I care for the people of the district that I live in and I believe my opinions and viewpoints are good for the district. I feel that now is as good of time as any to express them publicly.

There are four Republicans vying for the position, and their names are Dave Shiffer, Richard Herron, Bill Ross and John Adams. I don't know much about them individually, except maybe their professions.

No other Democrats are running because of the Republican stronghold on this area. They believe that I am probably what they need to break it, because of the novelty, the free press, and the excitement.

 

Workforce: How are you campaigning?

Seaver:: Lately, I've taken my campaign to two fronts.

I have made appearances on the CBS Early Show and the Ohio News Network—'Ohio's Talking' program. I have also been included in many newspaper articles and radio shows.

More importantly than the media aspect, I have been scheduled to speak at nine local organizations over the next three weeks. I feel that this is the most important of a campaign that I have vowed to keep on the grassroots and in the hands of the people. I look forward to taking these one day at a time, and spreading my message across the district.

I consider myself a pretty popular person and I enjoy all forms of social interaction. It goes with the territory.

Workforce: Have your opponents acknowledged your presence in the race?

Seaver:: No they haven't, due to their own primary. They have their priorities set like that, as I would too. (But) the media has been more than good to me, from the local to the national level.

 

Workforce: What do you care about?

Seaver:: Education, abortion, gun rights, agriculture, and campaign finance reform make my "plank."

I am anti-vouchers, and anti-proficiency testing. I am pro-life, pro-2nd Amendment. I am in favor of extending low-interest deposit loans to small farmers. I am an agricultural preservationist, and oppose most forms of corporate farming. I am in favor of hard campaign finance reform.

 

Workforce: Who will you hire to do constituent services? Other folks in your graduating class?

Seaver:: No, currently I have a five-person committee. The head of that committee is my 34-year old history teacher, who is a life-long conservative Republican.

 

Workforce: If you hire a 40-year-old, or a 60-year-old, will that be a little awkward?

Seaver:: Not at all, those are the kind of people I would like to represent.

 

Workforce: What's the difference between the people your generation and people in their late 20s and 30s, Generation X? Is there more of a "go-getter" attitude?

Seaver:: People my age tend to me more apathetic, as opposed to the overly politically active people of a generation past. But there are exceptions to both rules. Technology makes politics a lot easier, and I'm pleased to be knowledgeable in it.

 

Workforce: Is the older generation taking you seriously, or are they treating you like a novelty?

Seaver:: The older generation thinks, for the most part, that I am something that all generations need to see. It breaks the apathetic mold of my own generation. The novelty is there, of course, and it is a good thing too.

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