On Tuesday, February 6, Representatives Stephanie Clayton (R-Overland Park) and Brandon Whipple (D-Wichita) announced the creation of the Kansas Future Caucus. The two co-chairs were joined by other young elected officials and MAP staff at the Topeka State House’s Old Secretary of State’s Room to launch the initiative.
The Caucus, comprised of around twenty-five of the Kansas State Legislature’s members under 45 years old, will focus on the main issues that face Kansans 45 and under.
The Kansas Future Caucus is now the 21st caucus in MAP’s State Future Caucus Network. The Caucus will provide space for members to address issues important to their millennial constituents, including, according to Representative Clayton, migration of young Kansans out of the state, job creation, and the cost of childcare, as well as try to reverse the mistrust of young people in their elected officials.
“How can we make our political system and our democracy function more effectively? How do we make government operate in the twenty-first century?” asked Steven Olikara, President and Co-Founder of the Millennial Action Project. “What we need to do is to close that idealism to civic engagement gap. I’m optimistic about is the level of courage and leadership that I’m seeing from this younger generation.”
Representative Clayton agreed. “We here at the Future Caucus want to say to those Kansans 45 and under that we see you, we respect you, we are ready to listen to you, and we care about the many issues that you face,” said Representative Clayton.
“We’re from different parties, different ideologies, and we’re asking people to come together so we can come up with a plan on how Kansas as a legislature can be more effective in serving all generations within our state,” remarked Representative Whipple.
The KS Future Caucus has already created an agenda of issues important to young constituents, including student loan debt, the cost of childcare, and post-graduation jobs, and is planning on inviting more voices to the conversation. “All are invited to the table,” said Representative Clayton.