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Advocate editorial board opinion: Victoria residents will decide change of city charter

By By the Advocate Editorial Board
Feb. 18, 2012 at 5:02 p.m.
Updated Feb. 17, 2012 at 8:18 p.m.


TIMELINE

Feb. 21 - Council will decide whether to add amendment changing age requirement for city council candidates.

May 12 - If on the ballot, voters will decide to approve the city charter amendment, or not.

We think the issue of changing Victoria's city charter to allow 18-year-olds to run as candidates for the council is an interesting topic.

Everybody knows, 18-year-olds can vote and join the military; however, they can't drink alcohol in the state of Texas. And there are other age limitations for political offices all the way up to U.S. president, which is 35.

But in Victoria, a city council candidate has to be at least 21 years old, as per the city charter.

Of course, joining the military service is not the same as running as a candidate to be a city leader. Once in the service, an 18-year-old will go through basic training, followed by other training. These young service personnel will not be making tough decisions for others or giving out orders.

Generally speaking, 18-year-olds who vote are the ones who actually looked into the issues and candidates. But many 18-year-olds don't even know who is running for office.

Then again, a precedent for 18-year-olds running for City Council has been set. The cities of Corpus Christi, San Antonio, Austin and Houston - our state's largest cities - all allow 18-year-olds to run for their city councils.

We think young people should be commended for wanting to run for office and get involved, and we encourage government classes at the University of Houston-Victoria to continue to be engaged, as well as other 18-year-olds who have the right stuff.

If the measure to change the age for eligible candidates from 21 to 18 doesn't pass, we would like to see these same students run for city council when they become 21.

However, we don't feel strongly about this issue one way or another.

We think Victoria's voters will decide this issue.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.

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