Over the weekend 24-year-old activist and entrepreneur Nick Troiano officially announced his candidacy for Pennsylvania’s Tenth Congressional District. If elected Troiano will become the youngest member of Congress.

Before making his decision to enter the race, Troiano sent out feelers into the community, conducted polls and a mini-grassroots campaign to see if his potential candidacy had legs. After surpassing his initial fundraising goal of $25,000 and accumulating 1,000 of the mandatory 3,500 signatures to be on the ballot in November, Troiano decided to take the plunge.

Troiano hails from Milford, PA, which is within the Pennsylvania Tenth District and is located at the junction of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Milford also claims to be the “Birthplace of the American Forest Conservation Movement.”

Additionally, the Tenth is a notoriously volatile district that regularly swings between Democrats and Republicans. Incumbent Tom Marino (R-PA) defeated Democrat Chris Carney in 2010 to obtain the seat and in 2006 Carney defeated Republican Don Sherwood. However in the presidential elections the Tenth leans Republican with George W. Bush, John McCain, and Mitt Romney carrying the district.

Troiano, who previously identified as a Republican, has decided to run as an Independent, and is running with the campaign slogan, “America Deserves Better.”

During his candidacy announcement Troiano proclaimed,

“We must fix our political system, so that our political process is focused on conciliation rather than conflict.”

Despite his emphasis on conciliation instead of conflict, Troiano was not afraid to throw a couple punches at his opponent.

“I was disappointed and frankly embarrassed to see my Congressman, Tom Marino, not only vote for the shutdown but also vote against the bipartisan compromise that reopened the government –– with the unrealistic and disingenuous goal of defunding the health care law,” said Troiano.

The GOP’s decision to support the government shutdown – which according to the Office of Management and Budget cost the country as much as $6 billion – is ultimately what made Troiano leave the Republican Party, and he is hoping voters in his district feel the same.

Troiano’s campaign platform focuses on political reform, and environmental sustainability, which are two important issues to the millennial generation and the Pennsylvania Tenth.

Troiano previously co-founded the millennial based non-partisan, non-profit, The Can Kicks Back, which focuses on decreasing the national debt and is located in Washington, D.C. However, Troiano is running this campaign on his own and this is not an extension of the organization he co-founded.

In fact, Troiano has made it abundantly clear that he intends to run a citizen fueled and funded campaign and will not be accepting money from political action committees, lobbyists or unions, which have become the financial backbone of nearly all political campaigns.

Troiano has a long road ahead of him if he wants to become the youngest member of Congress, but surprisingly his biggest milestone will occur months before the election. In June Troiano will turn 25 and finally meet the minimum age requirement to be a member of Congress.

 

The Pennsylvania Tenth has been full of electoral surprises for the past decade, and who knows if another may be on the cards, but at the very least Troiano definitely has age on his side.