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Valencia grad runs for 25th

Posted: March 30, 2012 1:30 a.m.
Updated: March 30, 2012 1:30 a.m.

Harrison Leonard

 

A 25-year-old Valencia man has filed to run against Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon this year, but he says he can’t afford to campaign because he’s been laid off.

Harrison Leonard had a campaign staff and a campaign manager, a strategy and a fresh new vision for America when he filed to run for the 25th Congressional District as a Republican.

But all that changed when he was laid off from his job as an auditor reviewing the circumstances of home foreclosures for the Bank of America branch in Simi Valley.

“The irony of it is overwhelming,” he said.

Some of the “irony” to which he refers, of course, is the very real possibility that the circumstances surrounding his misfortune could be the issue that resonates most with constituents of the 25th Congressional District also hit by hard times.

“I was an auditor for home foreclosures at the very end of the foreclosure process,” he said. “It was very enlightening.”

The Bank of America office — to add irony on top of irony — was the former office of Countrywide Financial, which was blamed for much of the subprime mortgage scandal that laid the groundwork for unprecedented home foreclosures.

“I was this young guy, fresh out of school, ready to start (in) the workforce and chase the American dream,” Leonard said. “Then I was laid off and I was on unemployment for six months.

“I intended to launch a campaign, but I wasn’t able to find work. I couldn’t even get interviews,” he said.

A Valencia High School graduate, class of ’05, the bespectacled former College of the Canyons student describes himself as a brash, quasi-libertarian young man unafraid to stand up against power brokers who maintain the status quo, even though he filed as a Republican for “strategic” reasons.

What motivated him to run?

“I was tired of the status quo. I still am,” he said. “Washington is not working, clearly.

“I reached a point where I thought, ‘Most of these (candidates) are not bad people; most of them are decent folks I disagree with,’” he said. “I just want people to have a different choice.”

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