Kansas lawmakers move to bar teens from future governor’s races

TOPEKA, Kan. — Some lawmakers in Kansas are trying to put the brakes on six teenagers’ ambitions to run for the state’s top office.

Current Kansas law doesn’t impose a minimum age requirement on candidates for statewide office, but these lawmakers want to change that after a 16-year-old from Wichita learned there were no age restrictions and jumped in the race.

Then five others followed. Six teens are now running for governor.

A Lenexa teen, Lucy Steyer is running for secretary of state, according to the Topeka Capital Journal.

The House Elections Committee is looking at a bill that would take effect after this fall’s election. It would set a minimum age of 18 for candidates running for governor, secretary of state, attorney general, state treasurer and state commissioner of insurance. Candidates for governor and lieutenant governor would also have to live in Kansas for four years before seeking office.

The Topeka Capital Journal reports that Rep. Blake Carpenter, a Republican from Derby, Kan., met with one of the teen candidates from Wichita and got him involved in the legislative process.

“I wanted to get him involved in the process, so when I got him involved in the process, I wanted him to help me draft a bill,” Carpenter told cjonline.com.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who is also running for governor, supported the bill, but said it must take effect after the November election.

“The secretary of state does not want there to be any appearance of a conflict of interest concerning persons who are currently candidates and do not meet these proposed requirements,” Caskey said to cjonline.com.

Click here for an interview with one of the teen candidates, 17-year-old Jack Bergeson, who spoke to National Public Radio.