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Teen candidate has politics in his blood

Father of 19-year-old helped run Ted Kennedy’s 1980 presidential campaign

Posted: December 12, 2009 8:11 p.m.
Updated: December 13, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Harrison Katz, a College of the Canyons student planning to make a run at the City Council, has a bit of a political pedigree.

His father, Martin Katz, was Ted Kennedy’s campaign finance director during the late senator’s run for president in 1980.

Martin Katz, 66, had put his political career long behind him. He and his wife moved to Santa Clarita about 20 years ago, he said.

He now works as a financial consultant.

But now, he’s preparing for his youngest son’s first campaign.

“I want all of my kids to pursue something that interests them, no matter what that is,” Martin Katz said. “(Harrison’s) passionate about government; I can’t tell you how delighted I am.”

Harrison, 19, will file nomination papers with the City Clerk sometime next week, he said. He will be able to focus entirely on his campaign — COC is on winter break until February. Judging from past election results, he would need more than 5,000 votes to get elected.

He has more than 800 friends on Facebook.

Martin said he would have rather had Harrison finish his college education than run for government so soon. But after realizing his son was committed to running for office, he said he gave his son his support.  

“He’s got an interest in improving the community,” Martin Katz said. “He thinks he can bring a unique perspective to the city, and he certainly takes it seriously.”

Martin, 66, said during the 2000 presidential election, when Harrison was 12, they stayed up and recorded election results by state.  

Harrison said his perspective could provide a bridge between Santa Clarita youth and the rest of the council. Programs dealing with drunk driving, drug abuse and gangs all greatly affect young people in Santa Clarita, he said.

“I want to make sure people realize that issues that affect the city greatly affect the youth,” he said.

Harrison is a civics tutor at COC, he said.

Candidates for City Council must be at least 18 years old and a registered voter living within city limits.

David Gauny and former council member TimBen Boydston have already announced they are running against the three incumbents seeking re-election: Mayor Laurene Weste and council members Frank Ferry and Marsha McLean.

“I think he will surprise some people with the campaign that he runs, and the seriousness of it,” Martin Katz said.


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