Thursday November 2, 2017

A Lesson In Democracy

How one student hopes to go from learning the laws to making them, too.

Caleb Johnson won’t be the first student to feel anxious during a law class.

“I’ll probably be a nervous wreck through Torts,” Johnson says.

But the final exam he’s worried about that day will be taking place nearly 50 miles away.

“I’ll be waiting eagerly for the results,” Johnson says.

Johnson started at the University of Dayton School of Law in August, but along with learning about laws, he hopes to soon have a role in making them as well.

Johnson is running for city council in his hometown of Washington Court House.

“I think I can make a real difference based on my experiences and my passion for the area,” Johnson says.

Johnson joined the race in the spring and started law school a few months later.

He says it isn’t always easy balancing casebooks and campaigning, but it’s worth it.

“You just work hard, and you remember why you’re doing it, and you do it day-by-day,” Johnson says.

The workload has made Johnson an expert in time management, doing things like answering questions from voters on social media between classes.

“You can see me furiously typing on my phone trying to get through those,” Johnson says.

Johnson says he gets out to meet voters whenever he can with the help of some dedicated volunteers.

“My mom and dad go out and door-knock with me almost every single weekend,” Johnson says. “I’ve been so blessed to have a family and friends who have been willing to help me from the beginning.”

Johnson is one of five candidates running for four council seats. He is facing incumbents Ted Hawk, Dale Lynch, and Kimberlee Bonnell along with fellow challenger Stephen Shiltz.

Johnson says his time at Dayton Law has already come in handy during the campaign.

“It has strengthened the idea that your constituents are your clients and you need to advocate for them,” Johnson says. “You need to work hard to make sure they not only feel heard, but they get the representation they deserve.”

Johnson says he’s done his homework and believes he’s ready to pass his Election Day test.

“To me, just like being a lawyer, being a politician is about helping people,” Johnson says. “That town has given me a lot. I don’t want to fail. I want to succeed for them.”

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