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Loophole allows teens to run for governor

by Sarah Morris - Copy Editor
Tue, Feb 20th 2018 09:00 pm

It’s happened before, and somehow, it’s happening again: teenagers are running for the political role of governor of Kansas. The state’s old-timey and loose laws have no minimum age requirement when it comes to running for governor of Kansas, even if the person isn’t old enough to vote themselves. 

Because of this giant “loophole” in the law, as people are calling it, six minors are running for governor of Kansas in the November 2018 elections.

For fairly obvious reasons, people thought it was a joke in July of 2017 when 17-year-old high school dropout Aaron Coleman, who has no political experience whatsoever, announced his candidacy. 

Our generation and the older members of the generation below us are shrouded in irony, so it was hard to believe that Coleman was serious about running as an independent for governor. 

In a letter released online addressed to “Readers”, Coleman listed his intentions as governor to make Kansas a better state. His plans include raising the minimum wage, making Medicare universal and legalizing recreational marijuana use.

“I want to be the youth voice,” Coleman said in an interview with ABC News. “I want to change the youth vote.”

Obviously Coleman changed something, because afterward, five more teenagers announced their candidacy, all with different political agendas. One teen, Ethan Randleas, 17, who is running with the Libertarian Party,  intends to lower taxes and reform the criminal justice system at the more local government level.

 As a response to these young candidates, Republican state Representative Kristey Williams presented an amendment to raise the minimum age to run for governor. The bills would make someone unable to run unless they are eligible to vote and have been a resident of Kansas for at least four years. 

If passed, it would go into effect on January 1, 2019, which means it can’t stop the six teens from running and even winning.

Randleas endorses the bill, but his opponent, Jack Bergeson, 16, who is running as a write-in independent candidate, opposes it. Bergeson believes, being a student himself, he knows what important issues regarding education need to be dealt with. 

The three other teens running are Alexander Cline, Tyler Ruzich and Dominic Scavuzzo, all 17-years-old, whcih doesn't make them legal adults. 

In the state of New York, the minimum age to run for governor is 30-years-old. While 30 is a little too old, 18 is way too young to make the minimum age. Even if these kids were rock solid in their beliefs and think they can do a good job as governor, they have no real-life experience, especially politically. And while I’m not saying we need a rotting carcass behind the governor’s podium, I don’t want a governor straight out of the womb, either.

Studies have shown that normal vebrain development doesn’t stop until you’re 25-years-old. These kids are still eight years away from possessing fully mature, adult brains. That means that over time, their beliefs, opinions and views on things could change radically and not just once, but many times over. Politicians should stick to their own true intentions;  if those intentions are all over the place, then a political position is no place for them to be.

These teenagers are inexperienced, and even if one of them wins, people will be extra critical of everything they do. The tiniest mistake they make in office will have a huge negative impact on not just their position, but all of their generation. The older generations will automatically assume that because of their age, any stupid mistake they will most likely make reflects everyone else in their age group, decreasing the generation's credibility. 

These teenagers are the fresh faces of Generation Z and shouldn’t do something that could ruin it for those who are their age and younger. They need to set a good example and that can‘t be done if they jump at the shot to become governor with whatever flimsy beliefs they have now at 17-years-old.

 

smorr11@u.brockport.edu