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He's running to be Vermont's next governor

Meet Ethan Sonneborn, the 13-year-old running to be Vermont's next governor.

Posted: Apr 3, 2018 7:22 PM
Updated: Apr 3, 2018 7:24 PM

Ethan Sonneborn is an eighth grader who loves basketball, fishing and writing.

He also wants to be governor of Vermont. Not when he grows up, but now.

And thanks to the fact that there are no state laws that require gubernatorial candidates to be a certain age, Ethan is officially the youngest candidate to run for that office in Vermont history.

His challenges

Ethan, who lives in Bristol, is campaigning ahead of the state's Democratic primary in August, where he'll face two challengers.

His issue? Stricter gun control, legislation he says his home state needs.

But being 13 poses some unique challenges for a candidate.

One of them, says Vermont Democratic Party Executive Director Conor Casey, is school.

"It's funny, his biggest barrier is complications to being in school while simultaneously running for governor -- not that I'm advocating that he drop out," Casey said.

"Also, not having a driver's license. He's dependent on other people for rides to statewide events he speaks at."

His platform

Ethan says his age shouldn't be a factor; his perspective should.

His platform has featured gun control since he announced his candidacy in 2017.

"I'll admit when I first heard about a 13-year-old running, I thought, 'Is this some kid from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, spoiled?' But that's not the case," Casey said.

"Ethan really did embrace the gun issue early on. He's representing younger people and he's been a good voice for them."

Ethan acknowledges hunting is an important part of life in New England.

"It's a culture that I respect," he said. "But if it's making the decision between letting my friends have a good time at a firing range and them possibly being involved in a school shooting, I'm choosing legislation to protect them from that school shooting."

Sonneborn says part of his campaign is intended to disrupt the status quo.

"There's always been a sense of, 'We don't talk about that in politics.' That's what I wanted to change," he said.

"I wish it didn't take a tragedy for us to become involved in a national dialogue about how we move forward, but we can't go back in time and make it that Parkland didn't happen. And while we're in this moment, I think it's a good opportunity to make change."

His upbringing

Ethan's parents aren't very political, he says. But his passion was stoked early on when he bought an encyclopedia featuring Robert F. Kennedy at a local garage sale when he was 5.

"I've always admired some of the great coalition builders of the modern era -- MLK Jr., Robert F. Kennedy -- who came from all walks of life to accomplish a common goal," Ethan said.

"You don't have to be a Kennedy or a famous minister to be a coalition builder. You just have to have an issue you care about and be willing to speak out on your platform."

And he does that very well, says Jessica Barewicz, his principal at Mt. Abraham Union Middle/High School.

"He has clear, concrete, research-based ideas for improving Vermont and society as whole," she said. "That is quite an accomplishment of concerted critical thinking, civic participation and a visionary nature for a middle school student."
Ethan says he's met Gov. Phil Scott, who told him his gubernatorial bid is "very cool."

Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos told CNN that while there's no current law that prohibits Ethan from running, his office will likely discuss a minimum age for gubernatorial candidates in the next year.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 703345

Reported Deaths: 13194
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion959691716
Lake51222940
Allen38926670
Hamilton34288404
St. Joseph33770539
Elkhart27117431
Vanderburgh22034393
Tippecanoe21671212
Johnson17451374
Porter17206297
Hendricks16735310
Clark12657190
Madison12302337
Vigo12155244
Monroe11385166
LaPorte10800204
Delaware10312184
Howard9617211
Kosciusko9068113
Hancock7939139
Bartholomew7854153
Warrick7675155
Floyd7542176
Wayne6880198
Grant6773170
Boone6524100
Morgan6370138
Dubois6071117
Marshall5753108
Dearborn568075
Cass5671102
Henry5563100
Noble537983
Jackson492369
Shelby477795
Lawrence4332118
Gibson427389
Harrison426570
Montgomery416486
Clinton416053
DeKalb406684
Huntington376980
Whitley375539
Miami371465
Knox365389
Steuben362657
Putnam351960
Wabash346677
Jasper346146
Adams337652
Ripley333368
Jefferson311579
White307354
Daviess288899
Wells285180
Decatur278592
Fayette277062
Greene270385
Posey268333
Scott260553
Clay252244
LaGrange251470
Randolph234480
Washington230431
Spencer227431
Jennings224647
Fountain207745
Sullivan207342
Starke201952
Owen191856
Fulton190839
Carroll185620
Jay185529
Perry179536
Orange176553
Rush170324
Vermillion165743
Franklin165435
Tipton160943
Parke143816
Blackford132831
Pike130134
Pulaski113145
Newton102934
Brown99640
Crawford97014
Benton96213
Martin82415
Warren78915
Switzerland7698
Union69610
Ohio55511
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Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1048109

Reported Deaths: 18917
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1217031352
Cuyahoga1063982060
Hamilton779451165
Montgomery49883989
Summit45144907
Lucas39826760
Butler37638568
Stark31348894
Lorain24090472
Warren23835291
Mahoning20822583
Lake19915362
Clermont19397228
Delaware17972130
Licking16089206
Fairfield15646196
Trumbull15521459
Medina14815259
Greene14613236
Clark13576288
Wood12709184
Portage12313194
Allen11303229
Richland11017198
Miami10511212
Muskingum8688127
Wayne8543209
Columbiana8527226
Pickaway8421120
Marion8360135
Tuscarawas8359239
Erie7540153
Ross6692145
Hancock6683123
Geauga6527146
Ashtabula6458164
Scioto6280100
Belmont5591158
Union556247
Lawrence5458102
Jefferson5283147
Huron5270113
Darke5264121
Sandusky5164119
Seneca5093118
Washington5074107
Athens499454
Auglaize474884
Mercer470384
Shelby455089
Knox4371108
Madison421058
Putnam420298
Ashland412086
Fulton407966
Defiance399996
Crawford3858100
Brown385555
Logan372276
Preble369598
Clinton359659
Ottawa355478
Highland346059
Williams323274
Champaign318556
Jackson306951
Guernsey305848
Perry289349
Fayette276948
Morrow274439
Hardin263563
Henry263166
Coshocton258257
Holmes252699
Van Wert238662
Gallia233246
Pike232431
Adams227552
Wyandot226353
Hocking208958
Carroll188947
Paulding168538
Meigs141438
Noble132737
Monroe128841
Morgan106423
Harrison105336
Vinton81414
Unassigned02
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