Sen. Bernie Sanders at the Capitol last month.

Bernie Sanders is the second-oldest senator, and he wants to serve six more years.Despite other elderly senators struggling with health issues, Sanders is pressing ahead”I would not have run if I didn’t think I had the energy,” said Sanders.

Bernie Sanders will be 89 in January 2031, the end of what would be his fourth term in the Senate.

That didn’t deter the now 82-year-old Vermont senator and two-time presidential candidate from announcing his reelection last week.

Yet many remain concerned not just about Sanders, but elderly politicians in general. Sen. Dianne Feinstein ran for reelection at age 85, only to experience several public memory lapses before dying in office. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, 82, experienced two public freeze-ups last year.

Polling has long shown that age limits for politicians are widely popular, and age 80 is typically the ceiling. One House Republican has even proposed a constitutional amendment to ban anyone over 75 from serving in Congress or the White House, and voters in North Dakota are set to vote on imposing age limits this year.

“I would not have run if I didn’t think I had the energy,” Sanders told the Washington Post,” describing age as “only one factor” when it comes to evaluating political candidates.

That’s similar to what he told Business Insider two years ago, saying it’s “fair to ask about anything that’s reasonable, including age” but that age is “not a reflection of their views on the issues.”

Sanders is currently the second-oldest member of the Senate, ranking behind the 90-year-old Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa.

Concerns about age have famously dogged President Joe Biden, who is the oldest president in American history at age 81.

But in Congress, seniority carries institutional advantages that motivate lawmakers to hang on for longer.

Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Ohio, the longest-serving woman member of Congress in American history, explicitly made the case for her own seniority in an interview with BI in 2022.

“It’s a lot for a community to give up,” Kaptur said at the time. “People here have a lot to lose.”

Sanders himself has benefited from seniority allowing him to chair the Senate Budget Committee during the first two years of Biden’s presidency and now the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee for the last 16 months.

He noted in his reelection announcement that it puts him “in a strong position to provide the kind of help that Vermonters need in these difficult times.”

But he’s also used that position to highlight progressive priorities at the national level, including a 32-hour workweek and a $17 federal minimum wage.

Read the original article on Business Insider

By

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: