Naples 10: Tarren Bragdon

Tarren Bragdon was elected to the Maine House of Representatives at age 21, becoming the youngest state representative elected in Maine and ousting a three-term incumbent.
 Tarren Bragdon - Naples 10 - Naples Illustrated - Photo by Vanessa Rogers  “I’d always had an interest in politics and thought I would run for office later in life,” he says. “To be young in office, you have to work harder to prove yourself, but you have a fresh perspective not colored by cynicism or, ‘we’ve always done it this way.’ ”
   After two terms in office, Bragdon realized he wanted to work on the policy side, and for three and a half years served as CEO of the Maine Heritage Policy Center, a conservative nonprofit research and educational organization. A lifelong Maine resident, Bragdon heard the siren call of snow-free winters on visits to Florida. He recognized that Florida, a much larger state with greater political impact, would be a good place to start a similar organization, as well as raise his four adopted children.
   “I like policy work at the state level,” he says. “Here I can raise our young family and influence public policy.”
   Last June, he founded the Foundation for Government Accountability, a free-market think-tank working to advance policies by advocating for transparent government, research, policy development and lobbying.
   Although he travels frequently to Tallahassee, he feels that having headquarters in Naples allows him to be “outside the bubble that is the capital. The legislature is in session for two months out of the year, so the locus of power is not in Tallahassee.”

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