This Kickass 16-Year-Old Isn't Old Enough To Vote, But He's Running For Governor

The teen told Jimmy Kimmel about his candidacy.

One candidate for next year's Kansas gubernatorial race is making headlines for an interesting reason — he's not even old enough to vote for himself. Jack Bergeson is 16 years old, a junior in high school, and running for governor with his classmate Andrew Cline, who is 17 and would become lieutenant governor should they win.

While some states have age minimums for who can run, Kansas is decidedly different. Bryan Caskey, director of elections at the Kansas secretary of state's office, told The Kansas City Star that there is no law laying out any restrictions on who can run for governor in the state — including age or residency.



Bergeson decided to take advantage of this, telling the Star, "I'm getting in to give the people a chance. It doesn't matter much if I win or lose. I'm giving people the option."

The teen soon caught the attention of late-night host Jimmy Kimmel, who interviewed him via video call on Wednesday night. Before talking to Bergeson, Kimmel played a local news clip which explained that Bergeson and Cline are running as Democrats. Their platform includes marijuana legalization and an increase to the minimum wage. According to the Star, Bergeson also wants to "radically change" health care, but leans right when it comes to gun rights, including open carry.

Bergeson spoke to Kimmel from his bedroom in Wichita, where a Kansas state flag hangs on the wall. When asked why he's running for governor, the teen told Kimmel, "I think one of the major things is I want to get the younger generation involved in politics. I've been interested in politics since I was 7 or 8 years old, during the Barack Obama presidential campaign."

"Ever since [current Kansas] Governor Brownback and Trump, I've started to notice that politics is kind of degenerating in our country," Bergeson continued. "And we need the younger generation involved in order to fix that."

He also told Kimmel he doesn't have any skeletons in his closet, and voters who are worried about his work ethic will be glad to learn that he works at his family's restaurant, Fizz Burgers and Bottles. He also didn't get tripped up by Kimmel's question about the Kansas state bird — he correctly answered that it's the meadowlark.

Several YouTube commenters seem on board with Bergeson's candidacy, with one writing, "From a current resident of Kansas if Jack is on the ballot next year he's got my vote 100%." 

"This student seems quite mature for his age. Nothing wrong with him trying to achieve something," wrote another.

Current Kansas Lt. Gov. Jeff Coyler, as well as Secretary of State Kris Kobach, have also entered the race. Whether or not Bergeson has a chance of winning, we hope his choice to get involved inspires other young people to pay attention

As he told the Topeka Capital-Journal, "If they see someone else who is their same age running — running on ideas that are becoming popular nowadays — it will kind of shed the stigma away and may attract a lot more people to caring about the future of our state and our country."

Watch Kimmel's interview with Bergeson below:

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