Indiana legislator wants to lower age requirement for lawmakers to 18

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — A 26-year-old Indiana lawmaker wants to lower the age requirement for people to run for office at the Statehouse.

Right now, you have to be 21 to be a state representative and 25 to be a state senator.

Democratic State Representative Chris Chyung is planning to file a bill to lower the age to run to 18.

Co-Secretary of the Indiana Legislative Youth Advisory Council Kyle Feldcamp says he would love for this bill to pass.

“They are more likely to listen to us. We have issues of sometimes not being taken seriously enough by lawmakers just because of our age,” said Feldcamp.

“Our main job is solely to advise the General Assembly. We have no lawmaking power. All we can do is plead our case to the General Assembly.”

Megan Stoner has been passionate about this issue for awhile now. She helped lawmakers get it to a committee in 2016, but it failed.

“You can die for your country, you can do a lot of things at 18, but you can’t run for office?” said Stoner.

Since this bill would be changing the constitution, it will need to make it through two general assembly sessions, and then go to a statewide ballot referendum.

Rep. Chyung knows it won’t be easy.

“A lot of elected officials that I found in my one year in the statehouse are comfortable with the way things are, just for the way they are," said Chyung. "They don’t really like change.”

That’s one reason he would like a little more diversity in the General Assembly.

Feldcamp just wants the opportunity.

“If they lose, then they can run down later in the line and become an elected official later," said Feldcamp. "It just engages them in the process more.”

He already knows one person who would be willing to try.

“If this bill passes, I will run,” said Feldcamp.

If all goes well, he could be Indiana’s first teenage lawmaker.

Chyung said he plans to file this bill on Tuesday.

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