14-year-old Ethan Sonneborn hopes to inspire with bid for governor of Vermont

Last Updated Aug 23, 2018 4:44 PM EDT

BRISTOL, Vt. — Ethan Sonneborn found a creative way to spend his summer vacation — he's running for the governor of Vermont. There's no age requirement and anyone who has lived in the state for four years can run. 

Ethan has been in the state for 14 years, his entire life.

"I thought about what I would need to run a successful campaign, and ultimately it was a gut decision, so I decided to run," he said.

Sonneborn starts ninth grade this fall and says it was the country's response to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia last summer that sparked his interest.

"I recognized that there was a new movement of leadership that could be doing better... new leaders who could actually stand up and say racism is bad," he said.

Sonneborn doesn't think his age gets in the way, saying his campaign "transcends age." Running in a crowded Democratic primary, he is literally the kid at the adults table.

"I think Vermonters should take me seriously because I have practical, progressive ideas, and I happen to be 14. Not the other way around," Sonneborn said at a forum for candidates.

His campaign team is also young. His parents are on board, but they found out after their son sent a press release announcing his candidacy to the local newspaper.

When asked how much money he's raised, Sonneborn answered like a true politician.

"We have a campaign finance report due in a couple of days, so i'll tell you then," he said.

Voters like that Sonneborn is running, but at the end of the day, it's unclear if they'll vote for him. But that's not stopping him from encouraging other young candidates.

"It's important that we have voices all over our state that are advocating for people not represented in government," he said.

It's hard not to approve that message.