Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin gives a speech during meeting of Social Democratic party in Lahti, Finland, Wednesday Aug. 24, 2022. Credit: Heikki Saukkomaa / Lehtikuva via AP

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Finland’s Prime Minister, Sanna Marin, has faced criticism recently after photos and video surfaced of the 36-year-old partying. One particular photo showed two party guests topless in a bathroom at an official prime minister residence.

Marin was not in that photo, and said it was “not appropriate.” She later took, and passed, a drug test. She also apologized.

“I am also human,” Marin reportedly said in a speech to members of her Social Democratic Party in late August.“I do my job. I learn from this.”

She stressed that she has never allowed time off to get in the way of her work, according to the Associated Press. That work has included helping to guide Finland toward NATO membership after neighboring Russia invaded Ukraine earlier this year.

“But I want to believe that people look at the work we do, not what we do in our free time,” Marin added.

We’ll admit to not exactly paying close attention to Finnish domestic politics. There is enough of that to keep track of on this side of the Atlantic, after all. But we are left thinking that there are worse things than having leaders who are young and fun.

As of February 2021, the median age of members of the U.S. Senate was nearly 65 and nearly 59 for members of the U.S. House of Representatives. Both are well above the national median age of just under 39 and above the median age of registered voters, which according to Pew Research Center was 50 as of 2019.

The top three Democratic leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives are all over 80. As of right now, it looks like 2024 could feature a presidential rematch between two candidates who are currently 79 and 76, respectively. And it already looked like a shouting match between two old men last time.

The obvious caveats of not wanting government officials to be drunk on the job or detached from difficult realities notwithstanding, there is frankly something refreshing about a leader who is able to stand up to Vladimir Putin while also finding time to have fun like other 30-something-year-olds might.

If we want leaders who better reflect the people they represent, the U.S. could stand to elect more young, and yes, that sometimes means fun, people.

And based on a recent CBS News/YouGov poll, there are plenty of Americans who are frustrated with the disconnect between the age of elected leaders and their constituents. More than 70 percent of the respondents in that poll signaled support for some kind of maximum age limit for U.S. politicians. Clearly there is frustration about the age disconnect here.

Now, in that same poll, 47 percent of respondents thought having more young people in elected office would make politics better. While not the same overwhelming majority seen with the idea of upper age limits, this was still a plurality — with 23 percent saying more young people would make politics worse and 29 percent saying it would keep things the same.

As Steve Corbin recently highlighted in a column for the Fulcrum, which later appeared in the Bangor Daily News, there are a host of recent polls that show Americans don’t think officials in Washington, D.C. are representing them on important issues. That transcends the age of lawmakers surely, but it is no stretch to say that age is a piece of this puzzle.

We recognize that senior lawmakers bring knowledge and experience to the job, but it seems — and Americans appear to agree — that a better mix of elected leaders would more accurately represent the people and their perspectives.

Americans are clearly frustrated by the aging of the political class (and the fact that we have people in office long enough to become part of a political class at all). Embracing younger leaders, even those who attend the occasional party, could be one way to lessen some of this frustration.

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The BDN Editorial Board

The Bangor Daily News editorial board members are Publisher Richard J. Warren, Opinion Editor Susan Young, Deputy Opinion Editor Matt Junker and BDN President Todd Benoit. Young has worked for the BDN...