It’s that time again: Teams are being assembled, signs constructed, and rhetoric is beginning to fly as campaigns across the country gear up for elections set to take place in 2014. This will be the first major election cycle since Ron Paul ushered a new wave of libertarianism into the political arena.
We see this libertarian flair not only in elected officials like Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), but also in aspiring politicians like PolicyMic pundit Daniel Herrera, a 21-year-old candidate for City Council in Bayonne, New Jersey. Herrera represents a new wave of millennials who espouse Ron Paul Republicanism and are becoming politically active.
Herrera grew up in Bayonne and has lived there for most of his life, including his attendance at Bayonne High School. It was in high school that Herrera became interested in politics after seeing Ron Paul in the Republican presidential debate.
“At first, I wanted to become an anesthesiologist, but when I watched a Republican presidential debate, Ron Paul’s message of personal liberty really struck me as common sense… I was soon hooked on politics,” Herrera said.
Soon thereafter, Herrera decided to attend Catholic University in Washington, D.C. to pursue a degree in political science. While in school, he has interned with the Republican National Committee, the U.S. House of Representatives, and served as the Washington, D.C. state chairman for Young Americans Liberty.
Now, Herrera is fighting for a libertarian version of Republicanism, just as Paul did. And like Paul, Herrera hopes to attract the youth vote. “Young people bring new ideas, and we are using social media, along with other traditional mediums, to ensure that our message reaches the youth in our city.”
When asked if he thought his age, a young 21, is an issue for some voters, Herrera said, “I don’t think my age will be a problem, and if I stick to the issues and become a leading voice for the people of my city, then we can prove to the state that we mean business.” Herrera continued, “I actually think my age gives me an advantage ... I have heard many people say that it is time for the next generation to step up and start to be politically active.”
Herrera also believes his political affiliation to be an advantage. “Based on my stances, I have had many residents show their support.” For Herrera, these stances include balancing the budget, lowering tax rates for individuals and businesses alike, and increasing transparency (Bayonne most recently received an F grade in transparency), all of which are stances that Ron Paul would certainly approve of.
Ron Paul has had a tremendous presence among millennials, many of whom, like Herrera, are now politically active. We will have to wait and see how the “Ron Paul Generation” ages, but it seems that politicians like Daniel Herrera could influence the Republican Party in a way that turns the GOP into the new party of liberty.
While some might not appreciate that the GOP is heading in a libertarian direction, I think we can all appreciate Herrera’s belief that “The best experience I ever had, and continue to have, is meeting people and hearing what they have to say. It’s one thing to be a great speaker, but it’s better to be a great listener. To hear the real message and emotion behind a person’s words allows you to be in their shoes, even if just for a second.”
For more on the Herrera campaign, and to contribute, please visit Herrera’s campaign website.
For more on Ron Paul and millennial politicians, follow me on Twitter at @C_Rice3.