Colorado will vote on lowering the age limit for lawmakers

“I’m thrilled that the voters will get a chance to decide on this,” Rep. Kevin Van Winkle (R-Highlands Ranch) said.

Van Winkle is one of the bill’s sponsors.

He called Colorado’s current age limit arbitrary. He thinks 21 is a more accurate barometer of a person’s maturity to serve in the legislature since that’s the age we allow people to make decisions about whether to drink alcohol or smoke marijuana.

“Each candidate has to face both a primary election and general election,” Van Winkle said. “If people believe the older person in the race is more qualified than the younger person than so be it.”

And he’s not alone in that thinking.

Colorado is one of a handful of states that requires lawmakers to be at least 25.

Delaware requires its senators to be 30 before taking office, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. That’s the oldest in the country.

But Hawaii, Wisconsin and Washington let people run at 18.

A Florida college student became the youngest member of her state’s legislature in November. Election Day came three weeks after her 21st birthday.

And in case you’re wondering, Colorado’s youngest state lawmaker is 29-year-old Rep. James Coleman (D-Denver).

The idea to lower Colorado’s age requirement was actually a bipartisan effort from the Colorado Young Republicans and Democrats.

“It’s an issue they’ve been united on … ,” Van Winkle said. “Now it’s up to the people of Colorado.”

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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