Red Alert Politics: 27-year-old Republican aims to become youngest congressman

Grant Starrett is running for Congress to represent the Millennial generation.

A self-described constitutional conservative, Starrett, 27, is challenging incumbent GOP Rep. Scott DesJarlais in the contest for the congressional seat representing the 4th district of Tennessee.

A self-described constitutional conservative, Starrett, 27, is challenging incumbent GOP Rep. Scott DesJarlais in the contest for the congressional seat representing the 4th district of Tennessee.

If successful, Starrett will focus his energy as a freshman — and the youngest — congressman on tackling the national debt, an issue he feels is particularly crucial to attack in order to ensure the stability and prosperity of the Millennial generation.


“More than any other principle, I am driven by the notion that the federal government should not spend more than it takes in,” Starrett explained during a recent interview on Capitol Hill. “This is particularly relevant because our generation is going to have to pay for the irresponsible spending the current generation is racking up.”


Despite his young age, Starrett has accumulated plenty of political experience that qualifies him as a serious candidate for Congress. He served on both of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaigns, assuming the role of chairman of Students for Mitt Romney during the 2008 election.


While attending law school at Vanderbilt University, Starrett also worked at the Senate Steering Committee under former U.S. Senator Jim DeMint.

The 27-year-old faces DesJarlais, a third-term congressman who has battled a host of sex scandals but managed to wave off his last competitor, Republican state Sen. Jim Tracy.


However, Starrett spoke confidently of his ability to beat DesJarlais, emphasizing the “weakness” of the congressman’s voting record as reason for the people of Tennessee to experience a change in their leadership in Washington.


“He’s been a conservative when it’s been convenient as opposed to a consistent conservative across the board,” alleged Starrett. “I think that when people actually hear what his record in Washington has been as opposed to what he says it’s been, that that’s really his biggest weakness.”


As for Starrett’s particular strengths in contrast to his opponent, he characterized himself as a leader who can both better represent middle-Tennessee values and also “speak with a lot more authority as a member of my generation about what our stake in the future is.”


He spoke of the need to scale back the federal government’s influence, touting states’ rights as the channel through which to tackle the country’s current constitutional problems.


“Young people understand that there’s new markets for everything,” Starrett explained. “Whereas 50 years ago or 25 years ago you had to hail a cab and that was your only option, we’ve got Uber, we’ve got Lyft, we’ve got every one of these different things. I think more than ever we understand the value of options, and so that’s how we can recast states’ rights and that’s how we need to recast how government operates.”


“There shouldn’t be a one-solution-fits-all,” he added. “There shouldn’t be national policy based on costs that are in Manhattan. There shouldn’t be a social policy that is dictated by Washington.”


Ahead of 2016, Starrett’s campaign has gotten off to a strong start. He raised $500,000 in the week following his official announcement and $600,000 in the first month. He’s enthusiastic and fresh, something for which young voters are undoubtedly thirsting.


But it’s not only his own bid for office that has Starrett excited. He also spoke positively about the Republican contenders ahead of the 2016 election, labeling the group “the strongest field that we’ve had probably ever.”


And, while he declined to name a particular candidate who has held his attention, Starrett admitted, “Some people I like better than others.”


He particularly commended the young field of GOP hopefuls, which includes faces like Ted Cruz, 44, and Marco Rubio, 43, that literally represent a “generational difference” between much older Democratic candidates like 67-year-old Hillary Clinton.


“It’s helpful to have somebody not with gray hair out there making the case [for the Republican Party],” Starrett affirmed.