Opinion: Why I’m running for state representative in my mid-20s

Photo of Austin Marsman who is running for State Representative in the 42nd House District.

Photo: Austin Marsman

By Austin Marsman

May 31, 2024

“I’m running for state representative to meet the moment and build a better Michigan for generations to come,” writes Austin Marsman in this op-ed.

I’m not waiting.

When I announced my candidacy for state representative earlier this year, I knew it was the last thing most people would expect from someone in their mid-20s, but that does not hold me back.

I’m a lifelong resident of West Michigan and I know our communities are built by hardworking people. This work ethic and commitment to serving others is part of who I am. It is what motivated me to run for – and get elected to – the school board in the district where I grew up, lead a countywide broadband workgroup, and work with Michigan League of Conservation Voters to pass landmark climate legislation just last year.

I am part of a generation that was the first to practice an active shooter drill in my classroom, experience the effects of a changing climate, deal with a lack of access to mental healthcare, and a broken economy. Young people, particularly Gen-Z, are motivated by these issues. We understand the stakes and we want to make our local communities, our state, and nation a better place for everyone.

Photo of Austin Marsman, running for State Representative, making phone calls in campaign office

In Michigan, there are only two Gen-Z members serving out of 110 members in the State House. If elected, I hope to show it is possible for young people to not only have our voices heard, but to be fully represented in the halls of power. The tide is turning and Michigan is in a period of transformative change. The state legislature has made incredible progress over the past year, but there is still work to be done. Now more than ever, Michigan needs leaders who will produce fresh ideas and bring a dynamic approach to governance to benefit our communities and the broader political landscape.

There are a number of challenges affecting our communities — challenges transcending partisan politics. Rising costs, access to healthcare – including mental health – and infrastructure to name a few. These kitchen table issues impact every Michigander, no matter who we are or where we come from. Young people like myself have an enormous stake in our future and recognize we can’t sit on the sidelines any longer. I am willing to work with anyone serious about building a better Michigan for today and tomorrow.

We need more unique perspectives represented when it comes to who forms our policy. While established politicians are valuable for the years of experience they have and the knowledge of our systems, we also need young lawmakers at the table with new perspectives. The only way we will make progress is to unify, and recognize the strengths of different generations. Young people can, and will, define the future of our state. This is the reason why, in my mid-20s, I’m not waiting. I’m running for state representative to meet the moment and build a better Michigan for generations to come.


  • Austin Marsman

    Austin Marsman is a lifelong West Michigander who has served his community since the age of 21. He has been elected as a trustee to the Martin Public Schools Board of Education, chaired a broadband workgroup to expand internet access in rural areas, and worked alongside numerous community organizations across the state to support environmental legislation. He is the Democratic candidate for the state House of Representatives in the 42nd House District, and is motivated by his passion to bring more young candidates to the table in Michigan’s government.



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