LAFAYETTE, LA (KPLC-TV) – If a Lafayette state lawmaker gets his way, people age 70 years and older would be prohibited from holding elected office in Louisiana.
State Representative Rickey Hardy (D-Lafayette) said the bill he introduced, House Bill 470, would apply to all elected officials in the state of Louisiana, including school board members, city councilmen, mayors, sheriffs, police jurors, legislators, even the governor. However, the age limit would not apply to U.S. Senators since those office qualifications are set at the federal level.
"It is [constitutional] I believe because you can set the age," explained Hardy. "We set the age for many other things. I don't think it'll be discriminatory. Judges have mandatory retirement [at age 70.]"
Hardy said the reason he introduced his bill was to make it easier for younger people in Louisiana to bring their ideas to the table.
Asked whether he thought older people had good ideas to offer, Hardy said, "Your good ideas should have been when you were at age 55, 60, 35 years old. That would be the perfect time to run for office. At age 70? Now you're seeking public office? That's a far stretch in my opinion"
If Hardy's bill passes both houses of the legislature, it would go to a vote of the people since it seeks to amend the state constitution.
Hardy, who is in his 50's, said he will not be a hypocrite and plans to retire from public office before he's 70.
"Most people retire at age 65," he said.
To read House Bill 470 click here.