14-year-old Running for Governor of Vermont Seeks to Emulate His Hero, Robert Kennedy
BURLINGTON, VT - August 14, 2018
Just yesterday, we reported that a transgender woman could become the new Governor of Vermont. It seems like no big deal, at first glance, Christine Hallquist has a decent, correct policy for people.
"Vermonters are going to elect me on the platform. They are not going to elect me because of the fact that I'm transgender — that's the reality," Hallquist said. "Obviously, nationwide it's significant, the first transgender governor. It is pioneering."
She wants to help people get higher paying jobs, provide health care for their families, and better educate their children and give free public college education and high-speed broadband access -- even to those who live on remote back roads.
So what if she's transgender? It's okay.
We also reported Hallquist's opponent will be environmental activist James Ehlers, dance festival organizer Brenda Siegel, and 14 year old Ethan Sonneborn.
You might think that he's just a kid, but Ethan really has an interesting political program.
Ethan was born in Bristol, VT. He has met the requirements to be on the primary ballot and is taking his place alongside the state’s adult candidates on the Tuesday primary ballot.
“I think Vermonters should take me seriously because I have practical progressive ideas, and I happen to be 14, not the other way around,” Sonneborn said in a recent televised gubernatorial forum. “I think that my message and my platform transcend age.”
Sonneborn believes he’ll do better in the primary than people are expecting.
“I think if I can get one person who wasn’t involved in the political process before involved now, then my campaign will have been a success,” he noted.
The Vermont Constitution doesn’t have an age requirement for people seeking the state’s highest office beyond having lived in the state for four years before the election. Sonneborn qualifies.
As for his program, the boy said he’s always been fascinated with the concept of building coalitions. Robert F. Kennedy was the politician who most embodies that for him.
Sonneborn said his decision to run grew out of his frustration with state and national politics. The teen learned he could, and then decided to do so as a gut reaction to clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia, one year ago.
His July finance report shows that he has 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.
Last January, two Vermont lawmakers introduced a bill that would require candidates to be registered voters. The proposal went nowhere. At a recent news conference, Republican Gov. Phil Scott said he thought lawmakers should take a look at who should be able to run for the state’s highest office.
“I think you should at least be able to get your driver’s license at the time that you become governor,” said Scott, who is seeking re-election and is facing businessman Keith Stern in the Republican primary.