MADRID TOWNSHIP — Eighteen-year-old Brandon Haines started his political career in fifth grade when he ran for senator in the student government.

Now, as a high school senior, he is vice chairman of the Franklin County Democratic Committee. He was elected in December 2016 when he was 17. Haines is the youngest elected official in the state Democratic and Republican committee hierarchies, he said Monday.

He has held several student government positions in School Administrative District 58.

As a sophomore, he helped organize a walkout at Mt. Abram High School in Salem Township, when negotiations between the school board and the teachers’ union were not resolved and good teachers were leaving the system, he said.

He and other students involved in the peaceful protest were suspended.

“If I believe in something strong enough, nothing is going to stop me from making it right,” Haines said.

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His mother always told him that she didn’t care what he did as long as he was prepared to face the consequences, he said.

He supported Democrat Hillary Clinton in her bid for the party’s nomination for president in 2008 and her run for president in 2016.

“I admire strong women because most of the women in my life are strong,” Haines said.

He signed up for email updates on Cinton’s run for president, and he answered a call to volunteer to work on the campaign. When he wasn’t home, his mother signed him up to work as a fellow on the campaign. 

“At the time, they said it would be a few hours a week,” he said.

It turned into 30 hours a week. 

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“I didn’t mind. I loved it,” he said.

He drove to a field office in Skowhegan until one opened in downtown Farmington.

He decided to help Barbara Chassie, a Democratic candidate for Maine House District 112, which comprises Carrabassett Valley, Kingfield, Carthage and Weld, among other towns and unorganized territories in Franklin County.

“Barbara is still my biggest political influence,” Haines said.

He campaigned with her, knocked on doors in towns in the district. He also worked on other Democratic campaigns.

When Chassie lost her bid for election, Haines still had a lot of energy left. Chassie suggested he run for a position on the Franklin County Democratic Committee.

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He ran for chairman and vice chairman and was elected to serve as the latter.

His duties include working with the executive committee, and if Chairwoman Yvette Robinson of Farmington is not at a meeting of the county committee, he will take her place.

Haines is also looking forward to attending bimonthly meetings of the Maine Democratic Committee. 

He has applied to the University of Maine at Farmington and Presque Isle, and other colleges in Maine in hopes of staying close to his mother in case she needs him.

“I am hoping to major in political science and minor in gender, sexuality and women’s studies,” he said.

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Brandon Haines, 18, of Madrid Township is the vice chairman of the Franklin County Democratic Party.

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