by Ric Burrous
It’s not unusual for college students majoring in political science to consider careers in politics. It’s just that most of them think about careers after they earn their degrees.
But Edwin Barnes, known around the IUPUI campus as "Eddie," isn’t your usual political science major. The School of Liberal Arts freshman is already on the ballot for the May 5 primary election in Marion County, running as a Democratic candidate for the Indianapolis City-County Council. Since Barnes is unopposed in the primary, he will be on the ballot this November.
“Some local elected officials brought the idea up to me last October,” Barnes said. “They are good friends of the family, so they know my dad (John Barnes) was a state representative in 2009-10, and they know I am majoring in political science. And they knew no other politicians were going to run for the new seat (created when at-large elections were eliminated in the city).”
Barnes is a lifelong resident of the city’s east side and an eighth generation Hoosier, and shares his father’s passion for making Indianapolis prosper. “With all that in mind, I wondered ‘Why not me?’” Barnes said.
If elected this fall, Barnes hopes to attract businesses back to his district (District 18) by repurposing existing property, which would provide the resources necessary to improve the economic picture and to reduce crime on the southeast side of the city.
The IUPUI student isn’t anticipating problems balancing politics and academics throughout the primary and general election season.
“The trick is to focus on scheduling, to leave time for studies and campaign work,” Barnes said. “I also have a part-time job, and I have to work toward my Honors College requirements to maintain my Bepko Scholarship, and things can get a little hectic. But focusing my energy on numerous tasks doesn’t leave me any time for distractions, so it may be a blessing in disguise.”
His parents supported his decision, despite being only a year out of Warren Central High School. “I think Dad was proud that I might be his political legacy,” Barnes said. “It’s in my blood, and they both have been helpful in this endeavor.”
Barnes may be ready for both the primary and general elections this year, but he hasn’t committed to a full-fledged political career.
“A lot of political science majors want to be lawyers but I don’t know if law school is something I want to pursue right now,” he said. “Working as a public servant has always been a dream, but I don’t know yet in what capacity. But this experience will be a great start for my career, and I am nothing but excited about whatever the future holds.”
Visit Barnes’ campaign page on Facebook for more information.