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The very young guns of politics: 18-year-old friends seek spots on Pr. George's school board

The Washington Post's Hamil Harris reports on the race between Edward Burroughs and Stephen Morris, running to fill an empty seat in the District 8 Board of Education Race.

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Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, October 28, 2010; 10:07 PM

On Monday, David Murray stood on a sidewalk in front of the College Park Community Center. Early voting had begun in Maryland, and the candidate for the Prince George's County Board of Education was trolling for votes.

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"Hi, I am David Murray. I'm running for the Board of Education. May I ask, what city do you live in?"

Edward Burroughs was engaged in a similar effort not far away, just outside the Oxon Hill Library.

"Here you go, ma'am," the District 8 school board candidate said as he handed out a campaign flier. "Our school system needs a change."

Both were late for class.

It is no accident that Murray, who is running for a seat in District 1, and Burroughs are running for office now. Or running for seats on the Board of Education. Or even out campaigning when they should be in class.

"I have a math class at 12:15," Burroughs said during an interview outside the library. "But I'm coming back to campaign until it's dark."

Burroughs is an education policy major at Bowie State; Murray is studying economics at the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

The two have been planning - some might say plotting - their political careers together since they were in sixth grade. Now they are working to make their lifelong dream of holding an elected office a reality - even if their lives thus far total just 18 years each.

"We didn't make a pact about running for political office, but we have both decided to do the same thing," Murray said.

Rosalind Johnson, the county board member from District 1, praised Murray, her opponent. But she also said now is not the time for him to serve in the elected position.

"We want our children taking our place, but we want them to do that when they are ready," said Johnson, who has been on the board since 2006. "The reality is an 18-year-old or a 20-year-old can never go through the same experiences that someone older has had."

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