Teens are no stranger to politics these days. Many kids are starting clubs at their schools, getting involved in campaigns, and some are even running for office. Meet the four high school students running for the Republican nomination of the Kansas gubernatorial election in 2018.
Ethan Randleas is a 17-year-old student at Wichita Heights High School in Wichita, Kansas. He took up an interest in running as an “outsider” like President Trump in order to “drain the swamp”. He considers himself a “conservatarian” (a combination of conservative and libertarian), which is fitting to his ideas: school choice, leaving government out of anything not protecting life, liberty, and property, and gun rights for sane citizens.
Tyler Ruzich is a 17-year-old who goes to Shawnee Mission North High School in Overland Park, Kansas. He found an interest in running after talking with his friend Jack Bergeson, a Wichita teen running for governor on the Democratic ticket. He is running as a moderate Republican, even going so far as to state he admires socialist Bernie Sanders. He also supported him alongside his progressive parents in the 2016 presidential primaries.
Dominic Scavuzzo is a 17-year-old attending private school Rockhurst High School in Kansas City, Missouri (though he is a resident of Leawood, Kansas). He says he’s been interested in politics for as long as he can remember, watching debates and CNN regularly. His idea to run came after visiting Washington D.C. for President Trump’s inauguration and going to a Boys State leadership program at Kansas State University over the summer. One of his campaign promises is to work on school funding as his sister teaches in the state and he hears about all the problems through her.
Joseph Tutera Jr. is a 16-year-old also attending Rockhurst High School and is the sophomore class president there. He says that there’s one reason he’s interested in politics: “Politicians with the right intentions are the people that can bring real change to a city, state or country, and I want to be one of those people,” he states. He’s running as a financially and a somewhat socially conservative.
Kansas’ constitution doesn’t have any regulations on who can run for governor, and these teens, along with Democratic teen candidate Jack Bergeson, are taking full advantage of that.
However, some, like Russell Fox, a political science professor at Friends University, disagree with the allowance of kids to run for governor. In an article from The Kansas City Star, he said these kids would admit that they’re doing it as a “stunt. As someone who is of advanced age.” Along with that, he thinks that most people wouldn’t elect a teen.
All of these kids are running because they have a serious interest in politics (so serious as to emerge themselves in it at an early age), and because they see problems they want to fix. Who’s to say they can’t try to do just that?