One positive thing to come out of Donald Trump’s presidency is that a lot of young and diverse people are becoming inspired to run for positions in government. In the past year, the U.S. has seen a surge in people of colour, women, LGBTQ and young people running for elected positions. It’s inspiring to see, but the new redefining of who can be a politician has some people pushing the boundaries of reasonable age and species.
One of the positions up for election in the United States in 2018 is Kansas governor and lawmakers have realized a little gap in the requirements for candidacy. There is no legislation that stipulates a minimum age and some teens have taken notice.
Seventeen-year-old Jack Bergeson was the first to throw his hat in the ring in November and since then five other teens, all 18 years or younger, have also filed papers to run. Half of them are still in high school and aren’t even old enough to vote for themselves in the election. The common theme among their campaigns is the sentiment that the older policymakers in government overlook the plights of the young (like education) and that they exclude the younger generation from the entire political process. Most of these teens want to focus on issues that are pertinent to youth and make politics more accessible to them.
Encouraged by the unconventional candidates coming forward, another applicant entered the race. Angus the three-year-old wire-haired vizsla announced his candidacy (via his owner Terran) last week in a Facebook post.
“With all the teenagers running for governor, I decided a 23 (in dog years) candidate is more ready to assume the reigns,” Angus’ post reads, “I promise soft couches, tempurpedic beds, free for life universal chuck it ball supplies, and a completely anti-squirrel agenda.” According to Woolley, Angus is a Republican and “staunch conservative” to appeal to the average Kansas voter. Might we suggest the term “Re-pup-lican” for the posters?
Unfortunately, Angus’ political dreams were short-lived. On Tuesday, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (who is also running for governor) said that while there may be no age requirement to run, several documents say that the governor must be an “individual or person” thereby disqualifying any non-human from running. So much for Governor Angus.
The teens, too, might have a rough time running after this year. Republican Rep. Blake Carpenter tabled legislation that would take effect January 1, 2019 that specifies that in order to run for governor, one must be at least 18 years of age and have lived in the state for four consecutive years.