Maine state Senator Eric Brakey, a true wunderkind in conservative politics, was honored at Red Alert Politics’ 2017 30 Under 30 Awards. The 29-year-old looked the part of a seasoned GOP campaigner, wearing his Maine red-white-and-blue pin, joined by his campaign aide Erin Daly. Brakey is testing Maine’s waters to see if Angus King’s independent-held seat in the Senate can turn red in 2018.
Brakey began his career in politics working on the 2012 presidential campaign for Rep. Ron Paul, R-Pa. This libertarian wing of the Tea Party helped shape 2016’s Trump train, and Brakey is confident that the seeds sown from 2012’s ashes have taken hold in a new generation.
“I was so encouraged to see so many young people coming out to support the cause of liberty,” he commented on his appearance at an event with Young Americans for Liberty. “I think that there is such a tremendous opportunity for the liberty movement going forward.”
Representing Maine’s 20th district in Augusta, Brakey has put those beliefs into legislation, in some cases doing things some would consider “ahead of the times.” He supported and sponsored repeals of medical marijuana restrictions and supported recreational cannabis use for adults (legalized in 2016).
The millennial state senator was born in Columbus, Ohio, and attended Ohio University before making his mark in Maine. He studied acting and remains passionate about the profession into his political career. He credits the skills he learned on stage and in public speaking as a huge aid in being able to politic and move legislation. In an interview with the Washington Examiner, he raised huge concerns about the status of free speech debates on college campuses.
“Our university system used to be one of the great things about America ... they’ve become indoctrination factories,” said Brakey, while also referencing the Berkeley riots and students in Michigan arrested for handing out pocket Constitutions. “Society has really steered people in our generation towards career paths that really aren’t there.”
Despite this, Brakey believes a lot of millennials’ economic plight is not as much the fault of bad colleges but a bad economy.
“Government doesn’t create jobs, the free market creates jobs, the real economy creates jobs … we need to unleash the power of market, the economy, and free people to be able to empower themselves.”
If Brakey is fortunate enough to beat out both independent and Democrat candidates, he could possibly be working with Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who is vocally anti-Trump on several key issues, most notably the repeal and replacement of Obamacare.
“The interesting thing is, as a liberty Republican, I’m also with the Democrats on some issues, the Republicans on some issues, and sometimes I’m by myself completely, but it tends to be the exact opposite of the issues,” Brakey explained. “When it comes to foreign policy, I want us to be realistic … I think that it’s crazy that we have our troops in 177 different countries, that we’re in Afghanistan 16 years later, when the youngest soldiers currently going in there were two years old when we went in there in the first place.”
Brakey has certainly put his chips in the center of the table; as a Maine representative on the Republican National Committee National Platform Convention in Cleveland last year, he supported unsuccessful condemnations of the intervention in Libya and a resolution calling the deposition of Middle Eastern dictators a failed policy. Where others talk the talk, Brakey has gone out on a limb to uphold and represent his values on the main stage.
If Maine residents want a representative who is willing to take fire in order to follow principle, the millennial state senator may become U.S. Senator Brakey very soon.
Neil Dwyer is a graduate of the University of Miami, a political and sports broadcaster, and a freelance writer.