Teenage candidates for governor spark new legislation on age requirements

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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Currently, there are nearly 20 candidates for Kansas governor, six of which cannot even vote yet. But because of the absence of an age requirement, they can throw their hat in the ring for governor.

New legislation introduced by the House elections committee is looking at setting an age requirement of 18 years as well as a residency requirement of living in Kansas for four years prior to running for governor.

When one Wichita teen heard the news of pending legislation, he wasn’t surprised. But, that’s because he helped craft it.

“I don’t think it’s a big deal. I think everyone agrees there needs to be some limit,” libertarian candidate and Wichita Heights student Ethan Randleas said Monday.

Randleas switched from the Republican party last week because he alleges Republicans were shutting out the teen candidates not because of their ideas, but because of their ages. College is on the horizon for Randleas but his gubernatorial run is just part of the long ball he’s playing. He wants to eventually run for senate and grow the liberty movement in Kansas.

“I felt like I needed someone to represent myself, and I felt like it had to be me,” Randleas said.

On the other hand, democratic candidate Jack Bergeson, a junior at Wichita Independent, was floored upon hearing the legislation.

“I was immediately very angry, I hadn’t heard the text of the bill, and I wasn’t sure when it was taking place and if they’d try to hold off to qualify me for the ballot,” Bergeson said.

After further review of the text, Bergeson understood the change would not go into effect until after this year’s election cycle. His run for office will be unaffected.

“I believe it’s up to the voters of Kansas to decide. You can put anyone on the ballot and if the voters of Kansas believe the person is qualified, they can elect them,” Bergeson said.

There is no timeline set for when the bill will hit the House floor.


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