AUGUSTA — A state lawmaker from Auburn is hoping to lower the minimum age for candidates wanting to serve in the Maine Legislature.

State Sen. Eric Brakey, R-Auburn, offered a bill Monday that would ask voters statewide if they want to lower the minimum age for State House candidates to 18 for the House of Representatives and to 21 for the Senate. Currently, candidates must be at least 21 to serve in the House and 25 to serve in the Senate.

“At the age of 18, you can represent your nation on the battlefields of Afghanistan, but you are ineligible to represent your community in the halls of Augusta,” Brakey said during a public hearing on his proposal before the Legislature’s State and Local Government Committee. “Why, when you are old enough to fight and die for your country, are you not considered old enough to participate in the setting of state policy?”

Brakey, 26, is the youngest senator serving in the 127th Maine Legislature. He said 14 other states, including New Hampshire and Massachusetts, allow 18-year-olds to serve in the lower bodies of their respective legislatures while 23 states allow 21-year-olds to serve in their state senates.

Maine, which has the oldest median age of any state in the U.S., failed to lower its age for State House service in 1971 when the state ratified the 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which lowered the federal voting age from 21 to 18, Brakey said.

Brakey said he felt it was time to catch up, especially “… in a state that is so proud of our veterans, I believe it is time to recognize that if you are old enough to represent us on the battlefield, you are old enough to represent us in Augusta.”

There was no testimony in opposition to the proposal.

Brakey later said if the House and the Senate approved the resolution he hopes it would go to voters on Election Day this November.

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