The U.S. Constitution lays out the requirements that must be met to be eligible to run for public office, specifically at the federal level. To run for president or senator, a person must be at least 35 years old. To run for the House of Representatives, 25. Despite there being a minimum age requirement, there is no limit as to how old a person can be. 

"What I don’t find funny is the numerous videos I see of political leaders mumbling nonsense and seemingly dissociating on camera."

The average age in the House of Representatives is 58, in the Senate, 64. The current U.S. president, Joe Biden, is the oldest man to ever be sworn in on Inauguration Day at 78. The oldest senator currently serving is Chuck Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, who is 90 years old. 

I often spend time on the internet watching funny clips to entertain myself throughout the day. What I don’t find funny is the numerous videos I see of political leaders mumbling nonsense and seemingly dissociating on camera.

One political figure that I see often is Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader from Kentucky. McConnell is currently 81 years old. He has been seen multiple times freezing in front of the media. He will suddenly stop talking and moving for an unsettling amount of time. While at a press conference, most recently in September, he froze for 19 seconds before he was escorted away from the cameras and reporters. 

Despite these freeze-ups, McConnell has said he plans to finish his term as the Senate minority leader, which ends in 2024, as well as his term as a senator, which ends in January 2027. That would make McConnell 84, and who knows if he will seek reelection.

Having a mandatory age of retirement isn’t a new idea. A number of professions have requirements already in place. Airline pilots are required to retire at 65. Foreign Service employees at the Department of State have a mandatory retirement age of 57.

According to the National Library of Medicine, “It has been widely found that the volume of the brain and/or its weight declines with age at a rate of around 5% per decade after age 40 with the actual rate of decline possibly increasing with age, particularly over age 70.”          

Although most politicians stay in office as long as they can, one of my home senators in Utah, Republican Mitt Romney, has recently announced that he won’t be running for reelection. He said, “it’s time for a new generation of leaders. They’re the ones that need to make the decisions that will shape the world they will be living in.” 

Romney’s service term ends in 2025. At that time, he will be 77.

Although life expectancy has been increasing, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics reported that in the United States, the average life expectancy is 76. 

If the average life expectancy is 76, it doesn’t make sense to have the few represent the majority.

Individual states have taken it upon themselves to require retirement of public servants, mostly in a judicial setting. 

The New Hampshire Constitution sets the retirement age of all judges and sheriffs at 70. 

The Florida Constitution requires retirement of Supreme Court justices at 70. 

In Oregon the mandatory judicial retirement age is 75.

According to the 2023 Retirement Confidence Survey, done by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, the average age of retirement in the United States is 64. If the legislative government was to cap service at this age, there would be 58 senators, 141 representatives, and one current president who would be ineligible to serve.

Because there is no age limit, politicians can easily spend decades in office, taking chances and opportunities away from younger generations with new ideas. The likelihood that there ever will be an age limit is small, because the people in power would have to make that change. Why would they put themselves out of a job on purpose? 

Our leaders need to realize that, for the good of everybody, there should be an age limit in government representation, allowing new generations to shape the world that we want to live in. 


Alyssa McDonald is a junior broadcasting major from Salt Lake City, Utah. She is a member of the Goshen College softball team and 91.1 The Globe.