By Emily Tate, Managing Editor
Three Miami alumni have seized new opportunities for public office since John Boehner’s resignation at the end of October.
Paul Ryan, a 1992 Miami graduate and congressman from Wisconsin, assumed Boehner’s former position as U.S. Speaker of the House Oct. 29.
Now, Ohio’s 8th Congressional District must decide in a special election next spring who will be its next U.S. Representative. Of the eight declared candidates, all are Republicans and two are Miami alumni.
State Senator Bill Beagle and State Representative Tim Derickson share a lot in common. Both are Miami Mergers, have children attending Miami this year and graduated in the ’80s with business degrees.
They also agree this run for Congress was never part of their plans. But now, after years in the state legislature, each alumnus believes he is the best candidate to represent not only the state, but the country.
Beagle, a business owner and former stay-at-home dad living in Dayton, says he is looking forward to a competitive campaign.
“This is a big opportunity for our whole congressional district,” Beagle said. “When I gave it some thought, having served in the legislature for almost five years now, and representing a big portion of the [8th] district, it made sense that I would run for this seat. I know this district very well, and I’ve represented it very well.”
He said his experience at Miami helped shape his personal life and his career. And it taught him the value of hard work — Beagle worked at Bagel & Deli for three years.
“My ties to the university run very deep,” he said. “I have a lot of affection for Miami.”
If elected, Beagle said his focus would be in workforce development, national security issues and spending issues. Beagle believes his experience as a problem-solver would allow him to “help fix Washington.”
“I don’t want to hand over a world to my children’s generation that is just so deep in debt,” he said.
His daughter Morgan, a senior at Miami, said her dad is a great listener and really cares about his constituents. As a business major herself, she thinks his background as a business owner gives him the right mindset for the job.
“My dad says this a lot and I think it’s so true: ‘You should run your government like you run your household, and you don’t spend more on your household than you can afford.’ Run the government a little bit like you run a business.”
Derickson grew up in Oxford and devoted 25 years of his life to farming. From there, he moved into healthcare, then started two businesses before entering public office.
“I believe all these aspects of my career really lends to diversity in experience for this particular role,” Derickson said.
When Boehner announced his resignation in September, Derickson, a devout Christian, said he prayed about what to do before making a decision.
“I decided to throw my hat in the ring,” he said. “It really wasn’t part of my plan. The real reason I decided to do this is I have had some success in the Ohio House.”
Derickson still lives in Oxford, just four miles from Miami’s campus. His daughter Katie graduated from Miami in 2014, and his son Matt is a junior now.
Matt said his family spent summer nights in Uptown Park when he was younger, and in high school, they went to a lot of hockey games together. After all of the election talk in the last few weeks, he said a few things about his dad have really stood out.
“He’s not doing it for himself,” Matt said. “He’s doing it because he feels like this is what God is telling him to do. His heart is in the right place, and he actually cares for people in his district and wants to do as much as he can to help as many people as he can.”
Both candidates are calling on the help of the Miami College Republicans to do some grassroots campaigning in the area.
“The number of students that are willing and looking forward to helping us — it’s just humbling,” Derickson said.
The deadline for candidates to file their names is Dec. 16 — after that, the race is on to fill Boehner’s congressional seat — and just maybe a Miami alumnus will be the one to do it.