Ryan Lorrain, the youngest person ever elected to the Paris Board of Selectmen, at 23 has a resume longer than most people twice his age. Although he's still working on his bachelor's degree in business administration, the Paris native was very nearly a state representative last year, losing to incumbent Terry Hayes, D-Buckfield, by 110 votes out of more than 4,100 votes case. In June, Paris residents elected him to the Board of Selectmen, making him the youngest selectman in the town's history. Lorrain is also the sergeant-at-arms in the Maine House of Representatives.
What drew you to politics? During my first year at college I became a bit more aware of the world that surrounds me — started paying attention to current events and issues that affected those around me. I soon realized that my principles were much better represented by the Republican Party. From that point I joined the College Republicans, where I began volunteering on campaigns and attending political events from Maine to Washington, D.C.
What do your friends think of your political career? I believe my friends find it a fairly interesting path to take, especially compared to some of the things I was better known for during my high school years, such as being the class clown. If I told my friends back then that I would try to pursue a career in politics, it certainly would've made for a good laugh.
Did you take anything away from your run for the House of Representatives? I'd consider both campaigns for state representative as a great "hands on" learning experience. I've learned a lot about the world around me as well as myself as a person. The relationships I have made with people from all over Maine. My first run at state representative while going to Thomas College in Waterville introduced me to the former mayor of Waterville and current governor, Paul LePage. . . . The same can be said for my second campaign. There are many lessons to be learned about campaigns, politics and how to be a better member of the community. I was very fortunate to be surrounded by helpful, experienced current representatives as well as former representatives who I owe many thanks to.
What ideas/principles will you, as a 23-year-old, bring to the job? I think a lot of what I bring to the position is a fresh view to the scene. While learning the system and processes that take place, it's key to learn what goes on and make sure that I understand why it's that way and if there's a better way of doing it. Also, my generation has witnessed in terms of principles why it's important to be aware of how government spends money, accountability and being as efficient with tax dollars as possible. What has happened in terms of growing government and government becoming too expensive at the federal and state level can certainly be translated at the municipal level as well.
What was it like going door-to-door? Any interesting stories? Door-to-door campaigning isn't the most fun way to the summer months and is close to impossible without having the help of a driver. During the bright sunny days of summers it's sometimes difficult to lure friends from more fun activities like the beach, but my family was always dependable. It's basically "trick or treating" minus the candy, and more often than not you're greeted by a barking dog. But there's no greater way to meet the voters face to face than showing up on their doorstep. It was interesting meeting the people who live in this community, and I enjoyed most of the experiences, from being carded to prove that I was actually old enough to be a candidate or being offered a beer and burgers when I conveniently arrived at their family gathering.
What do you see yourself doing when you're 33? I enjoy my current field of work at the Maine Legislature. It's my hope that in 10 years from now that I remain involved in the legislative process in some capacity. Whether it's a full-time position like the one I currently have now or the possibility of being a part-time representative and putting my degree in business to use in the private sector. Should be a busy 10 years.