Kansas may be having a young governor in office in 2018 as a 16-year old officially announces his run for the office.
Jack Bergeson, two years shy from being able to legally cast a vote himself, is running for Governor of Kansas in 2018.
Bergeson’s run cannot be questioned in its legitimacy since there is not a single statement in Kansas law that sets qualification standards for what a governor should be – age, gender, residency, or experience included.
Bergeson says he is giving the people of Kansas a choice to try something “that has never really been tried anywhere else before.”
Running for a Democratic nomination, Bergeson says his anti-establishment campaign is focused on bringing a clean slate to the state. He also states that his candidacy is not about winning or losing but about granting people the choice by giving them a new option.
“I think if you offer the people of Kansas something radical, something new so then that shows that we can move in a new direction,” the teenage gubernatorial candidate says, “I think that will put the Democratic Party in a good position to win the seat next year.”
Emporia State University political scientist Michael Smith states of the positive potential of the youth’s engagement in politics:
“If this guy is at all reasonable, it could be a very good thing. It’s always such challenge to get young people to politically engage. I’m not saying he’ll win the nomination or anything, but if he could talk to other, maybe not 16-year-olds but people just turning 18 and get them to engage, I mean it could be a really good thing.”
When elected to office, Bergeson promises to increase the state’s minimum wage from $12 to $15 per hour, overhaul Kansas’s health care system, legalize cannabis, push for the approval of openly carrying firearms, increase teachers’ salary by 7.5 percent, expand Amtrak service, halt the imposition of increased taxes to households earning less than $60,000 annually, and push for grassroots campaigning only where candidates cannot take more than $500 worth of donations per individual donor.
Bergeson says they are expecting landslide skepticism in his – and youths in general – running for office, but expresses his hope that voters will change their minds once they learn his platform.
“We understand that many do not take young people seriously when they run for office but once voters hear our unique message of a platform that takes the best of both sides, we believe Kansans will understand that the old way of politics is no longer viable for a government that should be working with and understanding them,” Bergeson adds.