14-year-old Ethan Sonneborn, who took advantage of a quirk in the constitution of the bucolic northeastern U.S state of Vermont that imposes no age limit on running for governor, has indicated interest to contest for the governorship seat.
Ethan Sonneborn, 14, of Bristol, met the requirements to be on the primary ballot and is taking his place with the state’s more age-appropriate candidates on the Tuesday primary ballot, to say nothing of numerous candidate forums and debates.
Political candidates in Vermont ought to have lived in the state for at least four years, and Sonneborn has lived in Vermont for 14-years. In a recent televised gubernatorial forum, the teenager said:
“I think Vermonters should take me seriously because I have practical progressive ideas, and I happen to be 14, not the other way around. I think that my message and my platform transcend age.”
That apparent oversight by the state’s founders more than 225 years ago was enough to encourage the politically precocious teen to collect the signatures needed to place him on the primary ballot. He said he’s always been fascinated with the concept of building coalitions. Robert F. Kennedy was the politician who most embodies that for him.
“It’s on us to build our own future,” Sonneborn told The Washington Post last week. “You’ve got to get involved, you’ve got to vote, you’ve got to knock on doors. It’s how we’re going to make the changes we want to see in the state, in this country, in this world. When we get involved, we make our democracy stronger.”
The July financial report of the 14-year-old who said his decision to run grew out of his frustration with state and national politics, showed he had raised just over $1,700, not enough to make him competitive in a world where the successful candidates will undoubtedly have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not more, for ads, mailings, staff and other miscellaneous political expenses before the November general election.
Even if he doesn’t have much money, Ethan has been on the stage with Vermont’s other Democratic candidates. His rivals include Christine Hallquist, running to become America’s first transgender governor, James Ehlers, a Navy veteran and environmentalist, and Brenda Siegel, the executive director of a dance festival.