One of the three candidates for Ashland mayor may seem unconventional, a fact he openly acknowledges and supports. Michael Erickson, listed as “Biome” on the ballot, is pursuing a vision of government led by citizens rather than politicians.
Erickson is originally from New Jersey and has lived in Ashland for over six years. According to his website after studying biochemistry and anthropology at Pennsylvania State University he began examining his place in society, which later led to the formulation of his current world views.
The events of Sept. 11 spurred Erickson to examine world politics, finances, education, media, religion and social institutions and how they affect cultural identity.
“I discovered that what is passed off as political reality is little more than political theater,” said Erickson in a speech to Southern Oregon University students in a candidate forum held Oct. 15.
Erickson spent years voluntarily experiencing the concept of homelessness to learn how to survive without commonly desired material possessions.
Currently he is employed at an organic food manufacturing facility as a landscaping and property maintenance worker, as well as a farm laborer. He also has experience as a handyman and mendicant.
As a mayoral candidate, Erickson advocates for citizens to get involved in local government to truly live out the concept of government “of the people, by the people, for the people.”
His website also mentions developing provisional industries first at a local level, and then later expanding for regional, state, national, and international development.
“For a long time, I also just wanted to ignore the problems I saw and attempt to live a simple existence. However, my conscience does not allow me to escape so easily,” said Erickson at the campus forum on Oct.15. “My conscience continues to eat at me and demand that I use my talents to contribute toward making this world a better place for all.”
For more information on Erickson, visit biomeformayor.org.