UPDATED: Is It Time to Lower The Ages to Serve in GA General Assembly? Now With WGAU Interview

CJ Pearson, the Executive Director of Young Georgians in Government, reached out to let us know that they have secured a sponsor and three co-sponsors for a bill that would put a constitutional amendment on the ballot to lower the minimum age to serve in the Georgia Senate and Georgia House.

The group is seeking to reduce the age to serve in the Georgia House from 21 to 18 and in the Georgia Senate from 25 to 21.  Article III, Section II, Paragraph III of the Georgia Constitution currently states:

Qualifications of members of General Assembly.

(a) At the time of their election, the members of the Senate shall be citizens of the United States, shall be at least 25 years of age, shall have been citizens of this state for at least two years, and shall have been legal residents of the territory embraced within the district from which elected for at least one year.

(b) At the time of their election, the members of the House of Representatives shall be citizens of the United States, shall be at least 21 years of age, shall have been citizens of this state for at least two years, and shall have been legal residents of the territory embraced within the district from which elected for at least one year.

The group plans to organize a ground game to knock on doors and reach out to voters if a bill passes during the session.

All of this comes on the heels of 18-year-old Saira Blair’s election to the House of Delegates in West Virginia.  She defeated the 66-year-old GOP incumbent in the primary in May and defeated her 44-year-old Democratic opponent on November 4.

I am of the mindset that the change would be good. There is always the argument of “lack of experience,” but I have been around politics long enough to witness how hard some in this age group have worked on campaigns and in their community. If they are willing to put in that kind of effort into a campaign and serving others, then I say let them have the opportunity. They have to live, work, and be educated under Georgia laws, so they may as well have a chance to legislate.

UPDATED: WGAU interview with Conrad Close of Young Georgians in Government about the possible legislation.

18 comments

  1. Old enough to vote, pay taxes, and die for our country- I think you’re old enough to run for office. It will be up to the voters to decide whether or not you’re qualified to hold elected office, but I can’t find any rational argument as to why a 21 year old should be considered for it but an 18 year old cannot be.

    • Michael Silver says:

      While we are recognizing that 18 year olds are adults and should be treating as such, let’s lower the drinking age and carry licensing age BACK to 18.

    • JeffHaffley says:

      Totally Agree with Michael!

      There is also the added advantage of having more time to commit to the legislature. A 18 to 23 year-old legislator is less likely to be married and will have more time to commit to the legislative process.

      The example of the lifelong bachelor U.S. Senator Richard Russell is a good example. It was said of Russell, “He was married to the Senate”.

    • saltycracker says:

      MC – you are a good guy but your 3 reasons are more related to following advice, mandates or orders gone unfortunate than decision making.
      We may not be smarter (or a better shot) than a 5th grader but he is a lousy leader.

  2. drjay says:

    sure whatever…how old is the youngest state legislator in ga right now?? does anyone know? i’m not ambitious enough to look such a thing up…

  3. blakeage80 says:

    Are we sure this isn’t more like an ‘age of consent’ issue? We must protect young people from being ensnared by politics before they are mentally and emotionally able to make an informed decision. 🙂 I jest, of course. #mylittlebroforcongress

  4. gcp says:

    Lower the age to run for office? We need to raise the age. The last thing we need is more individuals that run for office at a young age and stay in office their entire life.

    We need more folks in office with life experience, not political experience.

    • CJ Pearson says:

      Quite the contrary. We need more young people in government, but we need term limits too! There is no reason whatsoever why a career should be made out of holding elected office. Young people have tons of life experience dealing with the ever evolving world around us: social issues, education, fiscal responsibility, etc.

  5. Will Durant says:

    I’ve never met an 18-year old boy that I would have considered mature enough to hold office. Perhaps a couple of young ladies as they tend to mature faster but if this is important to enough to people I don’t see making the Constitution an impediment for them to be on the ballot. I would prefer we get the Constitution changed to get rid of gerrymandering and partisan primaries first however. And yes, take the damn hypocrisy out of the alcohol laws though I assume this would still require changes at the federal level regarding highway funds?

  6. Doug Deal says:

    If this is such an obvious idea, then why not remove all the age requirements and let children vote and run for office?

    Wisdom is a real thing. It comes with life experience. There is no guarantee that one will require it, but one definitely does not have it without the prerequisite of living life as an independent adult with actual responsibilities.

    There is also reason why people under 25 are considered high risk for insurance and also why it is difficult to do things like rent a car. Human beings develop over time and an 18 year old is not fully formed mentally and psychologically until the mid 20s. This is why so many young people do so many stupid things. You can choose not to believe it, but I think the restriction is reasonable. And if you do not think the restriction of 21 is reasonable, then it isn’t for 18 either.

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