Aden Baker
Aden Baker

GROVER HILL - Astonishingly, 17-year-old Aden Baker has announced that he will be running for Ohio 82nd District’s state representative in 2018. At the time of running, he will be only 18, a remarkably young age for a candidate.

Baker plans to run in order to kick off a career in politics.

“Where I live, there’s nothing better for me to be doing,” he says.

Living in such a rural area, running for state representative is the first step as a politician. Additionally, as representative, Baker wants to better the state.

“There’s one million and one issues, and they’re all solvable,” said Baker. “They’re not easy problems, but right now we’re just not looking for solutions.”

His intent is to search actively for solutions to these problems.

Baker comes from a family that was always political. As such, he was exposed to politics for much of his life. His interest in the political field, however, came after taking a government class during the 2016 election. Throughout the course of this class, Baker was given a “front row seat” to the election, after which it became clear to him that the best way to make a change was through elected office.

If elected, Baker will have several responsibilities. State representatives are in charge of writing and reviewing bills, as well as doing everything in their power to ensure the bill gets passed. He is also interested in engaging with the community.

“Too often do we have invisible state representatives,” he said.

He wants to break this pattern and make his position more recognizable.

As a representative, Baker intends to tackle the drug crisis.

“When you look at the numbers, it’s our biggest problem,” said Baker. “It’s stopped being a problem we can ignore.”

With drug-related deaths reaching high numbers, Baker has several ideas for improving the situation. First, he wants to get as much Narcan, a drug that reverses the effects of an overdose, to people who need it. He also believes that keeping people educated on the realities of drug use will keep people off of drugs to begin with. Incidentally, he asserts that getting drug addicts into rehab is more important than putting them in jail.

“We need to start treating these people like victims, not criminals,” he said.

Baker wants to use tax credits to hire employees who complete rehab.

“We can’t build jobs without clean, good workers,” Baker says.

The education system is also an aspect of Ohio that Baker finds to be in need of improvement. In addition to bringing college costs down, he finds it important to involve students in the conversation about how to teach so that they are better engaged in the classroom.

Regarding the 82nd District’s current state representative, Craig Riedel, Baker is “not pleased.” The biggest problem he sees in Riedel’s candidacy is that he wants to bust unions, not drugs. Baker believes he can offer something better to the state of Ohio.

“The biggest reason I’m running is so people vote for the greater good, not the lesser evil,” said Baker.

Running for state representative at such a young age has its disadvantages. For one thing, it is hard for some people to take Baker seriously. He also is faced with the problem of lacking in a lot of experience.

“My resume for this job is short,” he says.

Even so, Baker’s youth does have some pros. He has first-hand experience with the education system - specifically the Common Core curriculum. This is something that other, older candidates cannot say. With this first-hand experience, Baker is able to apply what he knows to what should be improved upon and how. Age, also, does not determine a willingness to do good for your state.

“Seventeen or 57,” Baker says, “We should have a state representative willing to look at problems and solve them.”

Baker plans to do so if elected to be a state representative.

“Politics in Ohio need a breath of fresh air,” he says, and he promises to be that.