Proposed bill would allow older teens to run for Arizona legislature

Republican Representative Matt Gress, left, with the bill inspired by Nico Delgado, right.
Republican Representative Matt Gress, left, with the bill inspired by Nico Delgado, right.(Courtesy of Representative Matt Gress' Office)
Published: Jan. 13, 2023 at 3:39 PM MST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — A group of representatives and senators in the Arizona state legislature have signed onto a bill that would lower the age requirement to run for elected office from 25 to 18.

Nico Delgado, who came up with the idea, isn’t even old enough to vote. “You’re never too young to be a patriot,” Delgado says. A member of the North Valley Young Republicans club, Delgado’s passion for politics and civic duty gave him the strength to take his idea straight to the legislature, where it already is showing bipartisan support. “If you’re old enough to serve our country in the military, you should also have the opportunity to elect peers that reflect your views and values,” Delgado says.

The bill’s main sponsor, state Representative Matt Gress (R-LD 4), says HCR 2004, also known as the Arizona Civic Participation Act is “another step in engaging our state’s youth.” The bill’s co-sponsors include members from both the Senate and House. Signed on are House Democrats Cesar Aguilar, Lorena Austin, Analise Ortiz, Judy Schwiebert, Laura Terech in the House and Senate Democrat Catherine Miranda; and House Republicans David Marshal, Sr. and Austin Smith and Senate Republican Steve Kaiser.

“Arizona’s young leaders are resilient, having overcome many personal, unprecedented challenges like a global pandemic,” Gress says. “I’m honored to push this legislation forward that encourages more young people to participate in the legislative process and involves them more in Arizona policy.”

Last session, the average age of Arizona state lawmakers is 54 years, with the largest generational representation being baby boomers. Generation Z and millennials, however, hold the largest voting demographics in Arizona, according to data from 2020. “Young Americans aren’t just becoming the largest demographic in the country, but the most involved,” state Representative Austin Smith (R-LD29) says. “As one of the youngest members of this year’s Arizona State Legislature, part of my role is to offer different perspectives on issues affecting people from my generation – we have many young, emerging state leaders looking to positively impact our communities.”

The bill is a house concurrent resolution that aims to make changes to Arizona’s constitution, which means, if passed by the legislature, it will go to the voters.