It's not uncommon to encounter people in Congress who are well past retirement age. In fact, in the current sitting congress, more than 100 representatives in the House and nearly 40% of senators are age 65 or older. Many in congress are well into their 70's and 80's, with the oldest member -- Rep. Ralph Hall of Texas -- is 91.
The Washington Post and Politico speculated this week on why that might be, and whether or not we're due for a change. One theory put forth on why the average age of congress members is well above the average age of the regular US labor force is that it takes a long time to actually get there. Another problem is that incumbents usually win the election, and few members retire and give up seats to new blood.
Helene Schneider, 43-year-old Mayor of Santa Barbara, predicts a "generational shift" in the next 10 years, at least in the youthful, hip state of California. "The Gen-X-ers are going to take over in California," the mayor says.
At this point, it’s hard to say whether that would be a good thing or a bad thing. There’s no shortage of bench warmers, though, and it can’t be long before at least the octogenarians are out of the game.
Photo: Slate, The Moderate Voice
The oldest representative in Congress, Ralph Hall, is 91.