Young people will change the world and Ethan Ranleas wants to be one of them.
Youth activism has been heavily covered in the news lately due to the school walkouts protesting guns, and Kyle Kashuv’s meetings with members of Congress and the President.
In Kansas, thanks to a legislative loophole, six teenagers under the age of 18 have announced bids for Governor. Libertarian candidate Ethan Randleas shared in an interview with Lone Conservative his thoughts on the school walkouts, the age to run for office, and youth activism.
Ethan’s parents and his friends have been very supportive of his candidacy. At his first public forum, “Most of my friends came, it was at a High School in Lawrence, four out of the six teen candidates were there. I received a lot of questions that a Libertarian would expect after I say ‘We shouldn’t have taxes’ and then I explain how economics works [through answering audience questions].”
“The forum was recent enough after the Vegas shooting that people were asking about that, and what measure I would take for controlling guns. Responded “Cars kill more people than guns, and I’m not going to ban cars.” Then a girl yelled at me across the room that I had ‘blood on my hands.’ I felt like Ben Shapiro.”
Randleas attended a walkout at a large Wichita High School to observe the atmosphere and engage with the activists there. “I went to it to debate.. I went and one girl said to me, ‘The NRA is trying to give away guns.’ They clearly didn’t know anything and weren’t willing to have a conversation; it was not worth my time [to be there]”
When asked about lowering the voting age Ethan said, “The girl who I understood to be organizing and running the walkout in Wichita told me that we should ban all AK-15’s…. Kids clearly don’t know their stuff so let’s keep the age at 18.”
In regards to the school walk outs and liberal students calling for legislative change, Ethan said, “It’s cool to see what they are doing, nice to see initiative.” However he made clear that the only student activist that has received attention out of the Parkland tragedy that he completely endorses is Kyle Kashuv.
Before he announced his bid for Governor several other candidates had already announced their bid. However, Ethan is the only libertarian candidate running, which he believes makes him distinct from the pack. Out of the six other teenagers who are running, his name is the most likely to end up on the final election ballot because Ethan is vying for the Libertarian nomination, as opposed to the other two major parties.
“The goal right now is to take the Libertarian nomination; it would be a good start to do that. There’s so much polarization right now, so there is a big audience.” Ethan’s political role models are Ben Shapiro, Missouri Senate candidate Austin Peterson, Ron Paul and Senator Rand Paul.
According to Ethan, the negative feedback has been manageable. “Not from people that I know, but I’ve received a ton from both sides. Liberals think I’m ultra conservative, old guard conservatives think I’m not conservative enough. There’s certainly push back on both sides. But, for the most part, it’s dislike for my ideology, not based on my age.”
This February, Kansas lawmakers voted in favor of a bill that would bar people under 18 from running for statewide office. Randleas supports the bill even though it would mean that his candidacy wouldn’t have been possible as he was under the age of 18 when his campaign began. “I supported and helped Representative Carpenter do it, because this has gotten a little out of hand.” “When you come to the table talking about policy, you aren’t going to get what you want right away.. you aren’t going to eliminate income tax, but you can lower it. We can keep the age to run very low, which is good so the maximum amount of people can run.”
When asked about the viability of his teenage candidacy, “The goal is to take the Libertarian nomination and get libertarianism out to young people. I figured I can represent myself better than someone else can.”