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Grad Runs In Recall Election

Grad Runs In Recall ElectionTufts’Mark Mishkin – a high school history teacher – says he plans to teach his students about the democratic process through his candidacy for California governor. Woodland Hills, Calif.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [08.12.03] California's recall elections may be a political circus to some, but to 1995 Tufts graduate Mark Mishkin, it's a unique teaching tool. The high school history teacher has thrown his hat into the crowded ring not just to campaign for the statehouse, but to give his students a birds-eye look at the democratic process.

"Students in Mishkin's U.S. history class usually focus on figures such as John Adams and Theodore Roosevelt, but next semester they'll learn about a less famous politician: their teacher," reported the Associated Press.

The 30-year-old Tufts graduate will join an eclectic and star-studded ballot in the October elections which will include actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flint, a handful of California politicians and scores of candidates who range from a retired police officer to a software engineer.

"I want to show my kids that anyone can be in the process," Mishkin, who majored in drama at Tufts, said in a report on CNN. "I want to teach them that they should take part in elections and shouldn't sit on the sidelines."

Reports about Mishkin's campaign have appeared in newspapers and television news reports across the country.

One columnist even joked that Mishkin was too good to be true.

"On the surface, [Mishkin] would appear to be the sort of candidate that the American Dream was built around. He's a bowtie-wearning straight shooter whose parents and doctor volunteer on his campaign," wrote syndicated columnist Scott Wilson. "And that's exactly why he shouldn't be elected. This man is obviously a dedicated teacher. We can't afford to lose him from the classroom."

Despite the visibility and the thousands of signatures collected by Mishkin and his team of volunteers, the Taft High School teacher knows he has little chance of winning the election.

"The candidate, who describes himself as a socially liberal Republican, said he knows his lack of name recognition makes him a longshot," reported the Associated Press.

But Mishkin hopes to raise some important issues through his candidacy, such as better education programs for California's schools.

"He finds hope in candidates from the late 1800s populist movement who lost many elections but managed to spread ideas about women's suffrage, antitrust regulations and lowering the voting age," reported CNN.

And he plans to show his students that, just as they've done throughout history, underdog candidates can make a difference.

"Allowing the little guy to run is what a recall is all about," the Tufts graduate told the Associated Press.

Photos courtesy Associated Press.

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