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By Laura Clark
A current student has set his eyes on a seat that will represent the state.
Ryan Quarles, a third year UK law student, announced his bid for House District 62 State Representative Saturday in his native Scott County.
â€œKentucky needs fresh leadership if we really want to make a change,â€ Quarles said.
Quarles said he was unsure who was going to run with or against him.
Born and raised on a tobacco farm in Scott County, north of Lexington, QuarlesÂ said growing up in a farming community influenced his involvement in agriculture and politics.
â€œFarmers have a tradition of being involved in the community,â€ Quarles said.Â â€œAnd they have to be if they want to be represented.â€
Fellow third year law student and Student Bar Association President Anna Girard said Quarlesâ€™s announcement was not a surprise.
â€œAs long as Iâ€™ve known him, heâ€™s used all of his education to really tackle huge issues that are facing Kentucky now and in the future,â€ Girard said.Â â€œI couldnâ€™t be less surprised.â€
For his undergraduate college career, Quarles earned degrees in agriculture economics, political science and public service and leadership from UK.Â He also completed graduate degrees in agriculture economics and diplomacy, and served on the Council on Postsecondary Education from 2005 to 2008.
Last year, Quarles was awarded the Zuckerman Fellowship to attend Harvard University.Â In addition to earning a masters degree in higher education, Quarles learned to appreciate different views.
â€œAt Harvard, I was surrounded by people who disagreed with me,â€ Quarles said.Â â€œLiving in Cambridge and being from the South, I kind of stuck out a little bit.â€
Now working to complete his law degree in May 2010, Quarles is reaching even further for his future.
â€œI feel like the timing is right for Frankfort to have some fresh eyes on issues,â€ Quarles said.Â â€œI donâ€™t have all the answers, but Iâ€™m willing to listen and learn and apply my experiences to help with problems that have plagued our state for far too long.â€