Maine Home to Youngest, Openly Gay Lawmaker in Nation - NECN

Maine Home to Youngest, Openly Gay Lawmaker in Nation



    Maine home to youngest, openly gay lawmaker in nation

    Justin Chenette, 21, was sworn in on Wednesday after winning the November election by a huge margin (Published Friday, Jan. 17, 2014)

    (NECN: Marnie Maclean) - While most new college graduates are looking for a job, Justin Chenette is looking for committee assignments at the State House in Augusta, Maine.

    The 21-year-old democrat from Saco is the youngest openly gay lawmaker in the nation. He was sworn in on Wednesday, one of 13 new representatives under 30 years old.

    “I think it's important that young people have a seat at the table and that's what I am trying to accomplish here," says Chenette, who won the November election by a huge margin.  

    Surprisingly, Chenette went into the campaign with strong name recognition. As a high school student, he hosted a political show on public access television and if a candidate wanted to get elected in Saco, they found their way to his show.

    Chenette became the first student in Maine appointed to the board of education.

    There he realized he might like answering the questions more than asking them.

    He announced his candidacy while going to college in Vermont. He relied heavily on social media to connect with voters.

    There were skeptics but Chenette wasn't deterred.

    "If you believe in something you have to go for it, you can't let other people tell you know when you believe yes, that has been a theme in anything I have taken on."

    He knows he's got a lot to learn, but Chenette believes his passion and idealism still have a place in politics.