STORY BY LAURYN BECKER
Photos Courtesy Noah Erichsen
It’s not every day a college student wakes up and decides to run for a House seat for the state of Kansas, but for Noah Erichsen, he is doing just that.
On top of being an Honors College student, a trombone player in the Marching Band, in the Fort Hays Wind Ensemble, a pipe organist for the Hays First United Methodist Church, a member of College Republicans, a member of the motorcycle club, and President of Order of the Arrow in Scouts BSA in Kansas, he can now add running for a Republican Kansas House Seat to his resume.
Erichsen, a History and Political Science major from Ellsworth, has always had a love for politics since he was younger, and his dad was a major part of that.
“The gateway into politics was my dad. Every morning he made me breakfast at exactly 6:30. While we ate, we could watch TV, but it was KSN, a news station based out of Wichita. Every morning from first grade on I watched the news and this piqued my curiosity in current events,” Erichsen said. “I did this every morning until I started sleeping in and skipping breakfast. I was an eighth-grader when the presidential election rolled around and I was very unhappy that I was not able to vote.”
Erichsen said he immersed himself in the news again and over the next four years saying he realized it was no longer a person a vote, but a dollar a vote.
“In most of the United States, people are fed up with partisan politics. The majority want the country to move forward and to work together,” he said. “Kansas and the United States need new ideas, new faces, and new methods. Kansas needs a new era.”
One area Erichsen said needs to be addressed is the lack of growth in the Kansas population and a decline in rural Kansas where he grew up.
“Kansas needs to look to the future, and who better to do that than a young person who has new ideas for his state and country,” Erichsen said. “Now is the time to make a change. Now is my time to run.”
As one can imagine, Erichsen is consistently being pulled in several different directions. While it can be a struggle for Erichsen, overall learning to balance his time is extremely important to him.
“I balance time through trial and error. With all that I do, I have actually lost some relationships because my focus has shifted. My schedule keeps me fairly busy. I do not have time for some activities anymore but change can be positive,” he said. “I reserve time for my classes, musical instrument practice, scouting and my campaign. I need to do the things I love. I do my classwork first, then my church job, then my activities. I have had to make priorities. People make time for what they want, but I doubt I could pick up much more at the moment and be able to do it 100%. I am pretty stretched.”
Running for a House seat at 19-years-old can definitely sound pretty daunting, especially since a majority of the members of the House are over the age of 30. While he admits it can be pretty intimidating, he has the skills it takes to continue the betterment of the state of Kansas.
Erichsen said it took a lot of self-reflection to come to the decision to run for legislative office and cited a need for young people – not politicians – working for the good of the people.
“We need a younger generation to have a say in decisions that affect us all. We need people with values and dreams. I want to help my state move forward. This, I believe, is going to be accomplished by taking the best ideas, no matter what side of the aisle they come from,” he said. “We need that vision. Kansas has a representative government. I believe all age groups should be represented in Topeka and that includes people my age.”
Erichsen said he feels as though he is the best person for the job and that he can bring a fresh perspective to go along with others in the legislature that have more political experience.
“We can all bring value to the Capitol. I am the choice that will put the people first to better District 108 and Kansas. Politics has no room in decisions right now. We need to better our state,” Erichsen said. “I am driven by the hope that I can help people. Lots of people have felt uneasiness for a couple of years now. Through experiences, talking to others, and research, there are a lot of things we need to be working on.”
Erichsen wants to forget hot button topics and instead look to better the state of Kansas by getting people both to stay in and move back to the state.
“I want people to stay in Kansas, move to Kansas, and love Kansas,” he said. “A Kansas where we can prosper. I will work for the future and I think of the future when decision making. I want to better Kansas.”
For Erichsen, his main passions according to his family and friends are doing the right thing, helping people in need, and his faith.
“I love helping other people, especially youth through scouts and different functions. I was a student teacher for my last year in high school where I directed the junior high band and I loved it,” he said. “I also love helping kids have new experiences and teaching them new things; seeing that light bulb light up is one of the greatest experiences to have. I am very passionate about my faith. I am a pipe organist, and I love to play for church every weekend.”
To Erichsen, being a Tiger is joining in community, as well as helping to shape that community. Getting yourself involved and being a good person, to him, is what is most important.
“Being a Tiger means being a part of the special community FHSU has to offer. Overall, it is about learning and having fun while doing it, getting new life-long friends, and being the best person I can be. I love being a Tiger,” Erichsen said.