Despite just taking the oath of office in January, the 116th Congress is already making history as one of the youngest and most diverse ever. The fresh faces in the halls of Congress represent a new generation of leaders. In the House of Representatives alone, about 20 of the newly-elected representatives are millennials, at the start of the 115th Congress.
This increasing representation of young people in Congress isn’t an anomaly; it reflects a larger movement happening nationally, as millennials across the country are becoming civically engaged at higher rates. Record numbers of young people ran for office across the state, local and federal races in the 2018 midterm elections. And by some estimates, youth voter turnout in November was 31 percent – the highest in more than 25 years.
This historic change in the makeup of Congress, as well as increased engagement across the political spectrum, signals not just a generational shift in politics, but a shift in priorities, too.
Issues such as student debt, fiscal policy, healthcare, and the environment are expected to be at the forefront of legislative priorities for the 116th. Tackling these tough issues will require legislators from both parties to work together to develop practical solutions, something that students involved with Up to Us have championed for more than seven years.
Much like the new generation of policymakers in Congress, Up to Us represents a community of emerging civic leaders who strive to have a collaborative and inclusive voice on issues impacting our future. From engaging their representatives to leadership training, the Up to Us movement has been equipping young leaders with the skills to tackle issues like student debt, fiscal policy, and promoting civil discourse.
Over the coming weeks, our new blog series on the 116th Congress will shed light on the people and policies shaping our nation’s fiscal future to keep you informed –and hopefully inspired – on the latest happenings in Washington. We also want to encourage and share ways to spur civic engagement in your own community. Be sure to check out our page highlighting all the current millennial leaders in Congress and stay tuned for regular posts and updates in the series.