FARMINGTON — In February, the Franklin County Democrat’s executive board gained its first student member: Scott Donahue.

Scott Donahue, a 21 year old from Freeport, is a senior at the University of Maine at Farmington majoring in political science. He also serves as the vice president of UMF’s College Democrats.

Though he initially intended to major in secondary education, Donahue’s love of policy and law started young after he attended the 2008 Democratic caucuses in Freeport and became “intrigued.”

“I’ve always been really interested in government and politics. I’m pretty into public policy and law,” Donahue said. “Political science is a broader kind of field and there is more freedom to explore different avenues.”

He participated in an internship with the Maine Democratic Party, working up until election day. Following his internship, he was nominated for and won a seat as Franklin County’s alternate member for the Democratic State Committee.

As a result, he also has a seat on the executive board for the county’s local Franklin County Democratic Committee since February, serving as UMF’s voice.

“I bring in what the student body at UMF is talking about and what they’re interested in, (figure out) how we can do collaboration with the college Dems, work with people, use my college connections and work with the folks in the community to get us all on the same page and working toward the same goal,” Donahue said.

Donahue said he tries to provide “some insight” on “what the perspective of a college student or a little older is thinking.”

Those insights involve helping the board understand what issues matter to college students, which Donahue says include the student-debt crisis, affordable healthcare and climate change.

Yvette Robinson, chair of the Franklin County Democrats executive board, “really does give us a youthful perspective on anything from using social media to what issues are important to young people.”

“He‘s been a huge helping guide,” Vice Chair John Rosenwald said. “It’s really wonderful to have a student on the executive board. That does not happen, very unusual to have a student fully involved, and he has been fully involved.”

However, Donahue’s involvement with the executive board and county committee has been a give and take where he’s gained a new perspective as well. He said he learned the importance of being involved with hyper-local politics, including the affairs of county commissioners and select boards.

“Before I got involved, I was caught up in some of the national, hateful divisive rhetoric where the temperature is super high and it seems like everyone hates each other. In local politics, across the state of Maine and especially up here, folks are generally very nice. Republicans and Democrats disagree. But we still are civil and friendly about it.

“I think there’s a lot more change that we — communities, friends, neighbors — can make at the local level,” Donahue said. “There’s a lot of work at home that is just as important as what the senate votes on and what the president signs.”

While Donahue does provide that “younger perspective,” Robinson emphasized that Donahue’s involvement is not just for “his age because he really contributes so much more.”

“He’s very smart, thoughtful, a great listener, excellent to have on the board,” Robinson said. “He asks really thoughtful questions. He listens to everything and doesn’t make a quick judgment.”

Looking ahead to 2022, it’s unclear what lays in store for Donahue. He has plans to graduate in the spring, move out west and eventually attend law school.

But for the Franklin County Democrats, he’s ready for their goals: “to protect some of the seats that we have now and work to activate our community, turn some of these seats blue and show our neighbors what good government can do.”

“I think we can work all together as a county, as a community, to run candidates for these issues, support initiatives to set the agenda of the county committee to represent how everybody here in Farmington and beyond is feeling,” Donahue said.

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