Young Teenage Boy is Running for Governor of Vermont
Ethan Sonneborn, just 14 years old, is running for governor in the state of Vermont. The young boy has met the requirements to be on the primary ballot and his name will appear alongside the other three Democratic candidates running for election.
“I think Vermonters should take me seriously because I have practical progressive ideas, and I happen to be 14, not the other way around,” Sonneborn said. “I think that my message and my platform transcend age.”
The Vermont Constitution doesn’t have an age requirement for people seeking candidacy. The only requirement is that the individual has lived in the state for four years before the election. Therefore, the young teen who isn’t even old enough to vote actually qualifies to run for governor. Sonneborn collected enough signatures to place him on the ballot.
The boy has reported he’s always been preoccupied with the concept of building coalitions and said his decision to run stemmed from his frustration with Vermont’s and the nation’s current political state. “I want to be almost exclusively focused on the economy in my opening statement because no other candidate has a monopoly on the economy,” he told his campaign manager, Miles Burgess, and his chief of staff, Alex Yaggy. “Let’s add in a line about raising the minimum wage.”
As of July, Sonneborn has raised just over $1,700 toward his campaign. Although it’s an impressive effort made by any 14-year-old, this will likely not be enough to make him competitive against the others who plan to devote hundreds of thousands of dollars toward theirs.
Former utility executive and Democratic candidate, Christine Hallquist, is pitching herself as someone who would become the nation’s first transgender candidate. She has said, “I tell people this isn’t the hardest thing I ever did. I think after transitioning everything else looks pretty easy.” She recalled when she first knew she would one day transition, “When I was 11 years old – I’ll remember this day forever, it’s like a snapshot – the day my mom dressed me as Little Red Riding Hood for Halloween. And it was beautiful. I loved it. And I said: ‘Mom, I want to be a girl.’ And she said: ‘Well, never tell anybody that. That’s really all she said, but the way she said it I thought: ‘I’m never going to tell anybody that’.”
Democrats James Ehlers, an environmentalist, Brenda Siegel, a dance festival organizer, are also in the running.
“I think you should at least be able to get your driver’s license at the time that you become governor,” current Republican Governor Phil Scott responded to the young teen’s campaign. Scott is up for reelection, but his support has dwindled since the turn of the year. In early 2018, two Vermont lawmakers introduced a bill that would require candidates to be registered voters, but it did not pass. There is no word of trying to up the age now that Sonneborn has made it in.
“I think if I can get one person who wasn’t involved in the political process before involved now, then my campaign will have been a success,” Sonneborn said.