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Concerns rise among Americans over aging politicians

  • Americans are concerned about the age of lawmakers serving in Congress
  • Poll: 80% worried Biden’s age may impact service; 63% concerned for Trump
  • Not everyone agrees, one voter said, "There should be no restrictions”

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(NewsNation) — Utah Sen. Mit Romney announced that he won’t seek reelection in 2024, noting in a video statement that he would be in his 80s by the end of another term.

It comes in the wake of incidents where lawmakers have suffered apparent health scares while speaking.

Senate GOP minority leader Mitch McConnell, who is 81, has experienced two cognitive incidences, which are suggestive of some type of seizures.  

As many prominent people in government are well over 70 years old, this begs the question: Are there risks in having such elders in positions of national leadership?

If he is reelected and serves a full second term, President Joe Biden will be 86 in January 2029.

Some Americans argue most lawmakers are over the age of 75 and their ages don’t represent many of their constituents.

“The average American is about 40 years old and only about 5% of Congress is,” said William J. Kole, author of “The Big 100: The New World of Super-Aging.” “So clearly this is an issue that’s top of mind for many Americans as we go into the new election cycle.”

In a recent NewsNation/Decision Desk HQ, over 80% of respondents said they are somewhat or very concerned about Biden’s age affecting his ability to serve another term effectively. About 63% of those surveyed felt the same way about Trump.

“There are changes that occur, our brain shrinks. I know that sounds a bit alarming, but that’s a process that happens. It starts in our 30s and 40s. By the time we’re in our 80s, we’ve lost about a 10th. Of the size of our brain,” Kole explained.

However, among older Americans, opinions are mixed about age and lawmakers.

“I think people’s aging varies,” said Dr. Michael Hughes, a Florida resident. “Some people are old at 60, and some are old at 85.”

“Some people age and you would know how old they are by their brain; looks yes, but not by their brain,” said Florida resident Teeny Turner.

“There should be no restrictions,” said Dr. Stanley Selesnick, a Florida resident. “I’m personally 96; I don’t plan to run for anything, but I have no limitations on top people running as long as they’re qualified.”

Medical professionals have said not everyone has cognitive impairment in their 80s and 90s.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said if the founders could go back and do it again, there would be age limits on some of these offices.

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