American Governors 2016

The Young Elected Leaders Project (YELP) studies and works with young people who run for public office.

YELP research reveals that of the American governors currently serving, ten began their public careers as Young Elected Leaders. The youngest was Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who was first elected to his state’s legislature at the age of 26. The majority of those who started their careers at age 35 or under are white males. The average age of American governors within the 50 States is 59.2.

Breakdown of American Governors

Party Affiliation – Of the current 50 governors, 15 (30%) are Democrats, 34 (68%) are Republicans and 1 (2%) is an Independent. Of the 10 Governors who began as YELs, 5 (50%) are Republicans, 4 (40%) are Democrats and 1 (10%) is an Independent.

Gender – There is currently 1 female governor who took up public office while a YEL.

Governors Who Started as Young Elected Leaders

US Governor State Political Party Current Age First Elected Office Age First Elected
Bill Walker Alaska Democrat 63 years old Valdez City Council 26 years old
Jerry Brown California Democrat 79 years old California Secretary of State 32 years old
David Ige Hawaii Democrat 60 years old Hawaii House of Representatives 28 years old
Butch Otter Idaho Republican 75 years old Idaho House of Representatives 30 years old
Brian Sandoval Nevada Republican 54 years old Nevada State Assembly 31 years old
Chris Christie New Jersey Republican 55 years old Morris County Board of Freeholders 32 years old
Roy Cooper III North Carolina Democrat 60 years old North Carolina House of Representatives 30 years old
John Kasich Ohio Republican 65 years old Ohio State Senate 26 years old
Kate Brown Oregon Democrat 57 years old Oregon House of Representatives 31 years old
Scott Walker Wisconsin Republican 49 years old Wisconsin State Assembly 26 years old
Governors and Young Leaders 2019