UHRICHSVILLE Eric Harmon has begun his political career before he has even graduated from high school.
Harmon, 18, of Uhrichsville, a student at Claymont High School, is seeking the Democratic nomination for council at large in the May primary on Tuesday. He is one of two declared candidates for three seats up for election.
"I like where I come from. I like my community, and I want others to enjoy it as well,” he said.
On Jan. 26, Harmon attended the Uhrichsville City Council meeting and announced his intention to run for council at-large in the coming election. Linda Davis announced that she will not be running for re-election to the council this coming election, so it is her seat he will be looking to fill.
“My aunt, Cathy Cottis, kind of put a bug in my ear about this, and I’ve always been really interested in politics, so a few months ago I decided to run,” said Harmon.
He is most interested in giving input on the Streets Committee and on Parks and Recreation.
“Youth need to be involved at this level,” said a Cottis, Uhrichsville City Council member. “They bring a different perspective than older people. And if he does get in, he will develop to get better and better with the amount of time he serves on council.”
Harmon says he has received plenty of support at high school for his run.
“I’ve talked to the Democratic Party," he said. "(Tuscarawas County Democratic Party Chair) Gail Garbrandt, Michelle Irwin, Martha Cambell have been very supportive and helpful. I have a great family support system, and my friends have all been very supportive too.”
So far, it appears that Harmon will run unopposed for the empty seat.
“I plan on going to the next Democratic Party Executive Committee meeting, and then I’ll be going to a fundraiser they will be holding,” said Harmon on his future plans for involvement. “I’ve been frequently in contact with the city council, and they’ve helped me out a lot as well. I’ve talked with the former council President Mick Donato and former Mayor Terry Culbertson. They have helped me out a lot, and I have a ton of respect for them.”
When asked about his future aspirations in politics, he wasn’t sure if serving as president was in his future.
“I’m just focused on council right now,” explained Harmon. “I plan on furthering my education at Kent State Tuscarawas. I’ll be majoring in education with a concentration in integrated social studies. Eventually, I want to be a junior high or high school social studies teacher. But I also see myself serving on councils and in local government positions.”
As far as political positions go, Harmon immediately vouched for the upcoming streets levy and the Citizen’s Committee endorsing it to the public.
“I would like to see the quarter-percent income tax get passed. I think our infrastructure is in bad shape, and I’d like to see our roads become safer and more efficient for our citizens,” said Harmon. “I’d also like to see the council find a position on medical marijuana.”
Medical marijuana has come up in a number of council sessions, with Terry Warner promising to research the topic, but the council has not yet made a decision.
“Eric is a good kid,” said Cottis. “He’s been very informed in the past year. Always asking questions and watching government sessions. He’s coming to the council meetings to get acclimated to how these things are run, and he’s only going to get better.”