PORTLAND, Maine — A 24-year-old Republican party activist from Gorham announced Wednesday morning his intention to seek his party’s nomination to challenge incumbent Democrat Chellie Pingree for Maine’s 1st District U.S House seat in 2014.

Cumberland County Young Republicans Vice Chairman Isaac Misiuk represents the second 24-year-old conservative this summer to throw his hat into the ring for a congressional nomination in the state. Last month, state Assistant House Minority Leader Alexander Willette, R-Mapleton, declared his candidacy for Maine’s 2nd District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Pingree, 58, is currently serving her third term in the House.

In an announcement Wednesday, Misiuk suggested his youth gives him valuable perspective on the challenges facing recent graduates and new entries into the workforce.

In addition to his place on the Young Republicans, Misiuk is the former president of the University of Southern Maine College Republicans and director of student development in the school’s student body president’s cabinet. Also while at college, he worked as field staff for the Maine Senate Republicans and was a field director for the College Republican National Committee. In the latter role, he says he helped organize party committees and their election season “get out the vote” efforts at schools around the country.

Misiuk, a South Portland native, is a father of one.

“One of the most important things we need to be focusing on is our next generation,” the 2007 USM graduate said in a statement. “I know firsthand what it’s like for my generation, and it’s not good. I have friends with college degrees that are barely getting by on minimum wage while paying off massive loan debt. As a father, I have to worry not only about my generation, but my son’s generation too.”

According to his Wednesday announcement, Misiuk worked with area businesses to secure jobs for university graduates during his time as director of student development at USM. Misiuk worked in real estate and retail sales for five years after graduation, and in 2012, he returned to USM to enroll in the school’s political science program, his campaign website states.

“The status quo in Washington isn’t working. We need a new approach. A fresh perspective,” he said. “Maine is an incredible place, but sometimes that’s a hard line to sell to a college grad that’s unemployed or underemployed. I want to work hard for this state and see Maine, and our nation, prosper. My generation needs a leader, and I’m answering that call.”

Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.