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US Teenagers Seeking Election as State Governor

2017-10-09

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  • At least four teenagers have launched campaigns for governor in two American states.
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  • The young people have declared their candidacy in states that do not have age requirements to serve as governor.
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  • Ethan Randleas is a 17-year-old from Wichita, Kansas.
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  • He was the most recent teenager to announce his candidacy.
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  • He wants to represent the Republican Party in the state’s 2018 gubernatorial elections.
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  • Two other Kansas teenagers have also launched campaigns.
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  • They are 17-year-old Republican Tyler Ruzich, of Prairie Village, and 16-year-old Jack Bergeson of Wichita.
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  • Bergeson wants to be the Democratic Party’s nominee.
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  • It is ironic that some of the candidates will not be able to vote for themselves because they must be 18 years old to vote.
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  • The current Kansas governor is Sam Brownback, who has served two four-year terms.
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  • State law prevents governors from serving more than two back-to-back terms.
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  • Other, non-teenage candidates are also hoping to be elected governor.
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  • Kansas officials say the state has no legal requirements for the office.
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  • “There’s nothing in the law – there’s no age, no citizenship, no residency, no nothing,” the state’s director of elections, Bryan Caskey told the The Hutchinson News.
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  • Candidates only have to pay a small amount of money to get their name on the ballot.
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  • Ethan Randleas has started a Go Fund Me campaign to raise money.
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  • He says he will need to raise $2,300 by June 2018 to be put on the Republican primary ballot.
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  • Randleas calls himself a “conservatarian,” which he described as someone who supports a combination of conservative and libertarian values.
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  • “We just had a president win on the campaign promise of draining the swamp,” he told the Kansas City Star newspaper.
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  • “And if you really want to drain the swamp, you get the complete outsiders, and that’s what I am.”
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  • Randleas also said he generally believes that the government should stay out of anything that does not involve the protection of life, liberty or property.
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  • Jack Bergeson says he has been interested in the political process for as long as he can remember.
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  • But he decided to enter politics himself after watching Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who sought the Democratic presidential nomination last year.
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  • The teenager describes himself as “a Bernie Sanders-style left-wing Democrat/Progressive.”
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  • Like Sanders, Bergeson has campaigned for a higher minimum wage.
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  • He also supports reduced taxes for poor families, pay increases for teachers and the legalization of marijuana.
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  • The third teen candidate in Kansas, Tyler Ruzich, says he decided to run after Bergeson announced his candidacy.
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  • “I thought that was just so cool that someone my age was doing that,” Ruzich told the Kansas City Star.
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  • “He really started to tell me, well, why aren’t you throwing your hat in the race?”
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  • Since the parties have yet to nominate candidates, it is possible Kansas voters could be choosing between two teenagers next year.
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  • On the East Coast, 13-year-old Ethan Sonneborn has launched a campaign for governor in Vermont.
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  • He sent out his own press release announcing the move.
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  • Sonneborn has repeatedly answered questions with interested media.
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  • “I'd rather lose a fight with a lot of visibility than lose a fight quietly,” he told the Burlington Free Press.
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  • On his Facebook page, Sonneborn talks about what he considers the main issues in his campaign.
  • [05:25.19]
  • These include support for rebuilding infrastructure across Vermont and lowering taxes on the middle class.
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  • He also said he is “proud to be the most pro-choice, pro-gender equality candidate.”
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  • Sonneborn told the Free Press that local Democratic Party officials have been slow to take him seriously.
  • [05:53.11]
  • He also admitted it will be difficult trying to travel around the state while still attending school.
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  • But in the end, he said, he believes many of the state’s voters will see his age as a good thing, and give him their votes.
  • [06:13.48]
  • I’m Bryan Lynn.
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