Student Running for Ohio House11.01.2011 | Law, Students
Many alumni of the University of Dayton School of Law have run for office after graduating from law school. But one current student isn't waiting to graduate.
Law student Nick Owens is running for the Republican nomination for the new 66th District in the Ohio House of Representatives. Owens is studying under the School of Law's Accelerated Two-Year option and will graduate in May 2012.
Owens grew up in Batavia, Ohio, and worked in Clermont County, both of which are part of the 66th District. "I have a true passion for where I grew up and where I'm from," he said. The district, which is in Southwest Ohio, is up for grabs since the current representative is term-limited.
Owens said his legal education helped him decide to put his name on the ballot.
"The University of Dayton School of Law has given me the confidence to run for office," he said, "and has given me the confidence to enhance my skills and to know I have the skills to effectively serve my constituents."
Owens, who at the age of 20 graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a bachelor of business administration, said he decided to attend law school to further his career in public service. Before enrolling at UDSL, Owens worked for nearly five years for U.S. Representative Jean Schmidt of Ohio in both her Cincinnati district and Washington, D.C., offices. During his time on Capitol Hill, he said, he encountered many people with law degrees who worked for Congress, Cabinet members, associations and other organizations.
"I got to see firsthand the different roles you can play with a law degree," he said. "My experience in politics allowed me to see how much more I could do as a citizen of my state and a citizen of my country with a law degree."
The experience also showed him that "government is a lot closer to the people than they might think."
"Every day we worked with people on everything from passport issues, to Medicare and Medicaid issues to veteran issues," he said.
As a law student, Owens has worked for the Brown County Prosecutor's Office, where he has assisted in the prosecution of numerous criminal felony and misdemeanor cases and obtained a conviction during his first jury trial.
Owens has started campaigning, spending weekends in his district meeting voters at fairs, sports events and social club meetings. The primary for the Ohio Legislature is March 6, 2012. Owens said he's confident he can balance his studies with his campaign.
"I'm a big believer in the idea that hard work always prevails," he said.