Kansas has no laws about who can become Governor in the prohibitionist state. Anyone can run, including minors. That was news to one 16-year-old from Wichita, who has decided to take on the system and try to institute serious change in a state that seems stuck in the past on so many issues.
“Under Kansas law, there is no law governing the qualifications for governor, not one,” said Bryan Caskey, director of elections for Kansas. “So there’s seriously nothing on the books that lays out anything, no age, no residency, no experience. Nothing.”
It is a strange situation considering Jack Bergeson is too young to vote in the election next November. What makes it even more interesting is Bergeson’s support for marijuana legalization. He said he is an “anti-establishment” candidate and wants to focus on starting the state off with “a clean slate.” the Kansas City Star reported:
“I’m getting in to give the people a chance,” Bergeson said. “It doesn’t matter much if I win or lose. I’m giving people the option.”
The teenager said he wants to “radically change” the health care system and pledged his support to fully legalize marijuana for medical purposes. He’s also willing to explore legalization for recreational use.
But he also said he’s more conservative when it comes to gun rights, noting that he supports open carry.
“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, I think that will put the Democratic Party in a good position to win the seat next year,” Bergeson said.
He even has selected his lieutenant governor for the race, a 17-year-old classmate of his, Alexander Cline. Cline will be able to vote since he will be 18 before the election day on November 6, 2018.
Although he is a long shot, for sure, some experts believe it will bring out a lot of young voters, and encourage them to engage in the political system. Michael Smith, a political science professor at Emporia State University, told the KC Star, “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.”
It would be telling if Kansas has a good turnout for Bergeson. It would tell the people in charge that the youth are serious and the youth have had enough discrimination. Maybe the youth can get the adults in Kansas to put on their “big boy” pants when it comes to common sense and leadership. It’s about time they came into the 21st century, and it will be inspirational if it’s Kansas’ children that do it.