Taylor Myers said his grandmother offered him sound advice when he was a youth that influenced him and has remained with him ever since: "Stay off drugs, and always vote Democrat."
The 2011 Beallsville High School graduate and student-athlete was tapped this spring to be president of the College Democrats of Ohio. The student body president at Marietta College, he is the first Monroe County resident to lead the state Democratic group.
Myers, 21, often accompanies congressional candidate Jennifer Garrison on political stops in the district, and he said he is on a first-name basis with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald. He attributes his interest in politics to his grandmother, Eula Allen.
"When I was 10 years old, I would sit with my grandma at the kitchen table," he said. "She told me stories about her life, about how she grew up during the Depression and her life's experiences."
Myers said he took his grandmother's advice to heart - even though he wasn't exactly sure what she meant.
"I didn't know what that meant for a very long time, but I stay true to both promises," he said.
Myers started to become more interested in politics during the 2008 presidential election. That year, he also attended the Model United Nations meeting in Chicago.
"It was a very affordable trip, and I had always wanted to go to Chicago," he said. "I learned all about the United Nations and national politics, and I learned there is a much bigger world outside Monroe County. I'm proud to have grown up there, and I hope to make a difference there for a very long time."
Myers describes himself as pragmatic, moderate and an independent thinker. Despite being president of College Democrats of Ohio, he attends Young Republican functions at Marietta College. He said this gives diversity to his thought.
"I know the campus is very diverse," he said. "I'm a (resident adviser) at the school, and it also helps me to advise students. It is part of my job to find niches for people."
Myers is a history and education major who is minoring in political science. After graduating, he hopes to find a job in higher education, teach and help incoming students find their paths in college and their future careers.
"I would like to continue to work in public service," he said. "I want to help people find their political beliefs and get out the vote."