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Gen Z is old enough to run for office

Gen Z is now old enough to get involved with politics. Here are some of the young candidates and what they stand for

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A “Vote Here” sign is pictured on Election Day at the Salt Lake County Government Center in Salt Lake City.

A “Vote Here” sign is pictured on Election Day at the Salt Lake County Government Center in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019. Gen Z, those born between roughly 1997 and 2012, are now becoming age-eligible to run for office.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

When you think of Generation Z, chances are you might be thinking of young children and teenagers. However, based on some definitions, Gen Z is anywhere between 13 and 25 years old, making the oldest members of the generation qualified to run for Congress this year.

Meet the candidates: The youngest batch of political candidates are only 25 years old, or will be if the time comes that they are sworn into office. Here are some of Gen Z’s political candidates and what they stand for.

  • Maxwell Alejandro Frost, a Democrat, is running for Congress in Florida’s 10th Congressional District. According to Ballotpedia, three key messages of his campaign are: ending gun violence, Medicare for all and environmental justice. His activism began in 2012, after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Since then, he has witnessed many historical moments that have pushed his political work forward, according to NPR.
  • Karoline Leavitt, a Republican, will turn 25 just before the New Hampshire midterms. She’s running for Congress in New Hampshire’s 1st District in September. She served as an assistant press secretary during former President Donald Trump’s time in the White House, and served as the communication director for Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., per ABC News. Throughout her campaign, she has promised to fight for energy independence, tackle the opioid crisis and support the anti-abortion movement.
  • Tim Baxter, another Republican running for Congress in New Hampshire’s 1st District, is also a member of Gen Z, according to ABC.

  • Joe Vogel is 25 and is a Democrat running for a seat in the Maryland House. “He’s also gay, trilingual, and at 25, slightly embarrassed to say he’s still living with his parents,” The Washington Post says. He has already raised five times more money than his main competitor and has been endorsed by an influential state senator.
  • Nabeela Syed is running to be the first South Asian woman to serve in Illinois’ Legislature. She is a champion for increased protection for transgender people, the Post reported.
  • Ray Reed, a Democrat, wants to serve in Missouri’s 2nd District. He is going against the traditional way of things, running for Congress without prior political experience, per NPR. Some may say this move is risky, but Reed said, “The real risk is to nominate the same type of Democratic candidates election after election after election and somehow expect a different result.”

Where does Gen Z stand politically? According to a report from Pew Research Center in 2020, 61% of Gen Z voters said that they would likely choose a Democratic candidate.

  • This generation is more progressive than older generations and is more accepting of the LGBTQ+ community, according to Pew.
  • Over half of members of Gen Z believe that the Earth is warming due to human action, and only 14% thinks that the United States is better than all other countries.