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At 20, Joseph Sweeney is helping get things back on track in Concord


SALEM — When most college sophomores get out of class, they might head out with friends or go to an after-school job.


For Salem's Joseph Sweeney, you are just as likely to find him heading to the State House in Concord to work on the state budget.


The 20-year-old Salem High School graduate and UNH-Durham sophomore was elected to the House of Representatives representing Rockingham District 8 in 2012.


"My main reason for running is that I felt there was a lot of confusion and not a lot of representation in the State House," said Sweeney. "My grandfather is also a huge influence on me, and I wanted to show him I could run for office and help get things back on track."


As a state representative, Sweeney said he can help provide a new voice in the state.


"I never think there should be leadership in a vacuum," Sweeney said. "It is important to have a lot of different voices and perspective."


During his time in Concord, Sweeney said he is most proud of helping pass a new state budget that won't raise taxes and fees and will help put New Hampshire on a good path for a strong economy.


At UNH, Sweeney is majoring in political science and said his goal is to attend graduate school for public policy.


On campus, Sweeney serves as the campus structure chair of the student senate, is a founding father of the Phi Mu Delta fraternity, and is the publicist of the student cable access network.


"I want to work in the public sector, for a town or county government in some capacity," said Sweeney.


During his limited down time, Sweeney said he enjoys playing pickup sports such as basketball and football and that he is an avid reader.


A lifelong Salem resident, Sweeney said he is eager to see Salem grow and develop over the coming decades, and to have more people involved in the town's growth.


"Joe is eager to learn and holds himself up well, fighting for taxpayers and millennials alike against out-of-control spending and debt," said Michele Nunnelley, who nominated Sweeney for the 40 Under Forty honor.


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