Should there be an age limit for politicians?

Sep 6, 2023, 8:30 PM

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., center, is helped by, from left, Sen. John Barr...

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., center, is helped by, from left, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., and Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, after the 81-year-old GOP leader froze at the microphones as he arrived for a news conference, Wednesday, July 26, 2023, at the Capitol in Washington. Questions are being asked if there should be an age-limit for politicians. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

SALT LAKE CITY — Should there be an age limit for politicians?

That question has come to light after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, froze while speaking to reporters on two different recent occasions.

Jay Evensen, opinion editor for the Deseret News, wrote a column on the topic, and told KSL NewsRadio that there are a lot of age limits in the United States.


“This is a big conversation going on right now in the United States,” he said. “Should we have age limit for service? We have a lot of age limits in our country. You have to be 16 to drive, 21 to consume alcohol, 18 to vote.”

He says those ages are arbitrary and don’t necessarily translate to an individual’s ability to do those things.

“And so, when you’re talking about an age, an upper age limit for serving,” Evensen said. “Should it really be an arbitrary age, or should it be a person’s ability to serve and be able to prove that they’re incompetent?”

Evensen says incidents such as the ones where Minority Leader McConnell zones out for 20 seconds are issues that we have to consider. However, there’s not an easy solution.

“But you really can’t come up with an adequate competency test in a political realm,” he said. “Because it will be used by political enemies to try and prove that your incompetence should be removed from office.”

Evensen says there are 15 members of the House of Representatives and four members of the Senate who are 80 years of age or older.

“And so, there’s a real reluctance to use the age card against anybody,” he said. “Because they’re all in it.”

Leaving it up to the voters

Evensen was asked if this is something that needs to be regulated or left up to the voters?

“I don’t know how you regulate it,” he said. “So by default, it’s up to the voters. But then it gets into the political realm and you say, ‘well, maybe he’s incompetent, but do we want to turn the seat over to a member of the other party, which we despise.'”

Evensen was also asked how does society handle this humanely? 

“I don’t know the solution,” he said. “I’m sorry.”

Which leads us back to the question of should there be an age-limit for politicians?

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.  

Read more:

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Politics + Government

Utah capitol clock...

Bridger Beal-Cvetko, KSL.com

These are the biggest unresolved issues as Utah lawmakers enter last week of session

The 2024 Utah Legislative Session will come to a close on March 1. Here are some of the biggest bills yet to be passed.

3 hours ago

utah lawmakers shown, a new resolution wants to address the natalie cline controversy...

Allessandra Harris

Lawmakers working to approve budget as legislative session enters last week

Lawmakers are looking to approve final budget as the legislative session enters the final week. The session ends March 1.

3 hours ago

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, left, and President Joe Biden toast before Biden speaks to members of the Na...

Darlene Superville

Biden and Utah’s governor call for less bitterness and more bipartisanship in the nation’s politics

President Joe Biden and Utah Gov. Spencer Cox spoke at the White House during a black-tie dinner for the nation's governors.

1 day ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a primary election night ...


Trump wins South Carolina, easily beating Haley in her home state and closing in on GOP nomination

Donald Trump won South Carolina's Republican primary on Saturday further consolidating his path to a third straight GOP nomination.

2 days ago

pay gap...

Curt Gresseth

Why is the gender pay gap not closing?

The gender pay gap in the U.S. and Utah is not closing. A Utah financial planner details the impact that wage shortfall can have on a women workers over a career.

3 days ago

jeff hunt speaks to a class about public access to government...

Amanda Dickson

The public would have less access to government records under proposed law

A bill that tackles public access to government comes after state AG Sean Reyes denied KSL access to his daily calendar.

3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Should there be an age limit for politicians?