Should there be age limits for elected officials?

Posted at 6:51 AM, Jul 10, 2024

(WXYZ) — In 2024, the average age of a U.S. Senator is over 60 years old, so we asked the question: when should politicians retire? In their 70s? In their 80s?

Oh say can you see, our politicians are getting older. We live in a country where you are free to work, and serve in office for as long as you want.

But should there be a cap on age for our civil servants in Government? We asked voters in Macomb and Oakland Counties what their cut off would be.

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“I’m 63 and my brain isn’t what it used to be and I can’t even imagine trying to make laws for us that we want or pass, everything we have to do at that age," said Barbie Lawler, a Republican in Macomb County.

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"(It) depends on their cognitive ability if they can still formulate good thoughts and all that," said Stephen Davis, an Independent in Macomb County.

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“As the politicians get older they kinda get stuck in their ways and I kinda like want new ideas new opinions and I think the younger politicians would have more insite into what that nations looking forward," said Laura Altobelli, a Democrat in Macomb County.

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“I honestly feel like age is really not a big factor honestly, because just because you’re older or younger doesn’t mean you’re much better than the next person," said Nikirah Johnson, a Democrat in Macomb County.

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"When you are young- young mentality, young thinking so probably when you get too much old you don’t have the same reaction for everything," said Maguy Maggie Barbe, an Oakland County Woman who didn't disclose her political allegiance.

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"When you're 80, you're kinda on the decline, and you can't really support yourself in the way of talking to others," said Joseph, an Independent in Oakland County.

The average age in the United States is 28. In 2024, the average U.S. Senator's Age is 64, with the oldest senator being 89.

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“The fact that baby boomers and older are continuing to cling to not just social power but also political and economic power is unusual and I think the time is well past,” said Peter Trumbore.

Trumbore, a professor and chair of political science at Oakland University, says this isn't the first time the age question has come up in politics, and likely won't be the last.

"It's not an easy question to answer," Trumbore said. "I think what we’re seeing is a move toward a new generation of leadership. I think it’s taking too long.”

In Oakland County, 81-year-old Gill shared a little of what he's learned over the years about aging.

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"The older you get, the less likely you are to be proficient at it. You decline and that's the truth," Gill said. "Why would I be worried about a war when I could be sitting up here enjoying myself?”

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