A college student at one Utah university is hoping to politically activate his peers by running for Utah’s Legislature.
Colby Johnson, a 25-year-old student at Utah Valley University announced Monday that he is running as a Republican candidate for the Utah House District 63 seat.
The Provo resident says he legally fits the bill to run for representative, despite current political culture, and hopes his example will open the way for those of various backgrounds to represent their communities.
"It’s political culture to think that you need a law degree, that you have to be over 40, that you have to have a family and that type of thing," said Johnson. "I would like to see us get away from that political culture and see more people of different backgrounds running -- more teachers, more moms, more everyday citizens -- running for positions within their legislature and local and state governments.”
The district is currently represented by Republican Dean Sanpei who told media Johnson’s experience helps him represent the great number of students and other citizens in the district.
Johnson says that he is proud of Utah’s well-managed conservative legislature, and that if elected, he will focus his energy on the state’s growing education and air quality needs.
Johnson says he hopes not only to get students involved in the voting process, but also encourage them to go to city council meetings and to get to know and work with their current legislators.
"Students generally don’t vote and so I don’t feel that it’s necessarily the government is failing us, I feel we’re failing the government and we’re failing our communities by not being involved and voting," said Johnson. "Many students look at their home while they’re in college as temporary and I don’t feel that is appropriate."
State law mandates a candidate must be at least 25 years of age to be eligible for the office of a state senator or representative.