A 101-year-old man is running for Congress.
Centenarian Joe Newman is running as a write-in candidate in Florida’s 16th Congressional District.
“If people are saying, who is this fool at 101 and running? Call me a fool. I’m sorry, but I’ve got to get out and convince John and convince Jim, hey think!” he told Florida’s NBC affiliate. “What is the best thing our society can do and what is the responsibility of our society?”
Newman, who lived through both World Wars, the Great Depression, and at least 17 presidents, said his experiences prepared him for public service.
“You learn through life you have certain responsibilities. And if you don’t fulfill them, how can you look in the mirror?”
Newman is running for the seat currently held by Republican Vern Buchanan.
Newman says he wants to fight special interests and advocate for improving society. Years ago, Newman was employed doing just that for the government when he worked raising awareness about Social Security, then a new federal program.
“That was our job, to sell them why a program like Social Security is essential to the economy and to society,” Newman said. “You had the same attitudes; we don’t want government involved. And they forget what government is, they forget that government is society’s tool to manage things.”
If elected, Newman wouldn’t be the oldest member of Congress: Elizabeth Hawley Gasque represented South Carolina till she died in 1989 at 103.