8 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, November 5, 1996
alums use their
diplomas to run for office
Visiting faiculty ds
Enrique Norten, a Mexican architect and travelling scholar, speaks about his work at Rackham Auditorium last night.
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By Jennifer Harvey
Daily Staff Reporter
Two recent University graduates did-
n't jump right into the work force after
graduation. They didn't decide to tour
Europe, and they didn't decide to take
some time to "find themselves."
Harold Ford Jr. and Chris Schmitt
started running for political office even
before they finished classes.
Schmitt, a 24-year-old Republican,
graduated in August with degrees in
political science and economics. When
he completed his studies, he had
already been on the campaign trail for
several months, although almost acci-
Schmitt said he became a lot more
involved than he initially intended. In
fact, today he is running as the
Republican candidate for state House
against incumbent state Rep. Liz Brater
(D-Ann Arbor) in Michigan's 53rd dis-
"I thought I'd be licking an envelope,
and the next thing you know I've been
given a forum to get my ideas out to the
public and a chance at representing a
large group," Schmitt said.
The lifelong Michiganian ran unop-
posed in the August primary elections,
which Schmitt said was a very good
thing, because he was rather busy acad-
emically at that
"I had a French candidtE.
final right at prima- p A s
ry time," he said.
Schmitt said he
has received "vast .arpid Ford r.
amounts of encour- n
agement" from the pe :
Republican party. ty affation:
"They're very '
supportive of get- Cbrls Sehmltt
ting young people Rae: Migan
involved," Schmitt :
said. Patty n
The party's sup- 4 aftntation:
port has not been
said. "I haven't gotten financial sup-
port, but I haven't asked for it," he said.
Even without much financial sup-
port, Schmitt said he wanted to become
involved so he could work on real
Schmitt credits his family for moti-
vating his candidacy. He said that after
years of being taught by his parents to
help others, he is ready for the commit-
ment of public service.
whether you're 26, 36,46
or 56 - you're still a
freshman when you get to
- Harold Ford Jr.
University alum and candidate
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"I don't know everything but I have
real drive and a lot of energy," Schmitt
Ford, a 26-year-old Democrat, gradu-
ated from the University's Lw School
in May. He never expected tobe licking
envelopes because he's alreidy done
that for years - his father, U.S. Rep.
Harold Ford Sr. (D-Tenn.), folds the
office for which the younger Ford is
The elder Ford is retiring his year
from the U.S. House seat he hasheld for
the past 22 years. His son seeks to fill
his father's shoes.
"I've wanted to do this since I was
four years old," Ford said.
Ford grew up in and around palitics.
He has four incles
who are either
i and presently or fomer-
ly elected offidals.
Ford said his pcliti-
cal family has
taught him the
.h$ H 5use e.t value of public ser-
6err y vice and instilled in
emocrat him the desire to
ate Hoe $eat runs in the blood,"
Ford said. "I know
government is an
LSA ally, not an enemy."
Ford has plenty of
his own experience
in Washington. He worked on President
Clinton's transition team and on his cam-
paign, and as a special assistant to the late
Commerce Secretary Ron Brown.
He sees his youth as an advantage,
Ford said. "I know my history and I
recall that the great movements of the
past were led by youth," he said.
"It's time for our generation to have a
voice on the political scene" he said. "It
doesn't matter whether you're 26, 36,
46 or 56 - you're still a freshman
when you get to (Washington, D.C.)."
Ford said he takes his campaign very
seriously. He said he has been very
committed to it for several months.
During his last 15 weeks of Law
School, Ford followed a very hectic
schedule. He said he would attend class
from Monday morning throu
Wednesday at noon before driving
Detroit Metro Airport. He would then
fly home to Tennessee and campaign
there for the rest of Wednesday until
Sunday - only to fly back to Michigan
late on Sunday nights.
Ford said he flew home after finish-
ing exams and returned for graduation.
He then flew back to campaign a few
Many prominent Democrats are
standing up in support of Ford. TheR
Jesse Jackson and Vice President
Gore both campaigned with Ford last
Ford said he is also getting a lot of
support from his classmates. He said
eight or nine of his Law School class-
mates have come to Tennessee to work
on his campaign. He said some of his
mdergraduate and high school class-
nates are also lending helping hands.
While at the University, Fq
received advice from John Matloci,
director of the Office of Academic
Muticultural Initiatives and the former
campaign manager for Ford's father.
Mitlock said that if elected, Ford will
be tie second youngest member of
Congrss in history and one of a very
few mnority members.
"He s a very bright young man, very
principhd and very likable" Matlock
said. "H-'s always willing to help p
ple and to go the extra step."
Ford has a modest lead in the polls
over Reublican candidate Rod
DeBerry going into today's election.
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