BOULDER, Colo. – An Aurora lawmaker says he's planning to introduce legislation at the State House that could eventually allow teenagers to run for state office.
State Rep. Michael Garcia, a Democrat who also teaches at the University of Colorado, says he plans to introduce the measure within the next two weeks. Currently, political hopefuls must be at least 25 to run for the Legislature.
The measure has the support of some college lobbyists, Coloradans for Equal Representation.
"It's essentially taxation without representation," said CU sophomore Ryan Biehle, 20.
Biehle has been lobbying with the group between classes at CU's Boulder campus.
Garcia's bill would be just the first step. Ultimately, voters would have to change the state constitution to allow the 18- to 24-year-olds run for office.
Biehle, who is majoring in political science, English and philosophy, said if it weren't for the current age requirement, he would have already "seriously considered" running. He's got a head start in politics already, serving as the legislative-affairs director for CU's student government.
"Age is an arbitrary measure of maturity," Biehle said.
Garcia, 33, teaches leadership and civic-engagement course at CU. He said some of his students could be credible candidates, but they can't run because of age requirements that Garcia says are archaic.
Garcia was elected to the state House when he was 26.
"This is an issue of fairness and equity," he said. "Colorado isn't on the progressive end with this."
Two-thirds of state lawmakers would need to approve Garcia's bill before it could go before voters in 2008.