Editor, Times-Union:

Our Republic’s constitutional qualifications for the office of president should be enhanced in an attempt to ensure better candidate standards for office. There have been some talk of the fact that felons can actually run for president of the United States which occurred on at least three  occasions in 1920, 1992 and 20122. The example from 1920 is the most well-known where “Socialist Party Leader Eugene v. Debs ran while in an Atlanta federal penitentiary for charges he gained advocating dodging the draft” in World War I. He received over 900,000 votes or nearly 3.4% of the popular vote. These isolated examples should not become a trend or the norm for our country.

Article II Section 2. Qualifications for President - Proposed Expansion of Current Text

No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States at the time of the adoption of this constitution, shall be eligible to the office of president; neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not attained the age of 35 and no older than 75 and has been 14 years a resident within the United States nor shall any person be eligible to that office who has not had the status of their citizenship verified or who has been duly convicted of a violent felony, treason, or insurrection against the United States.

Neither shall such persons refuse to undergo and pass a criminal background check, full disclose their tax returns and financial history, eliminate potential or actual financial conflicts of interest, undergo a physical or psychological medical exam by an independent of medical experts, pass a high school civics exam and citizenship test, perform at least to years or more of national service whether military or non-military in their lifetime, or have successfully had an elected or appointed public office whether at the local, state and national levels.

– Any candidate who fails any one or all of these qualifications would be ineligible to be on the ballot in any state of the Union whether for the primary or general presidential election.

– The Federal Election Commission shall be the main administrative body in conjunction with other appropriate agencies at the state and federal levels in overseeing a candidate’s compliance with these standards.

I would urge readers wither Democrat, Republican, Independent, Libertarian, or Federalist or members of other parties to contact their elected officials in Congress and urge adoption of these changes.

Alexander Houze