On Tuesday, September 10th, The Hill hosted Millennial Action Project’s State Caucus Network Director, Cherisse Eatmon on a panel to discuss bipartisanship and younger generations in politics. John Della Volpe, Founder of SocialSphere and Director of Polling, Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics also participated on the panel which was moderated by The Hill staff writer, Julia Manchester.
To begin the discussion on Millennial issues, Eatmon focused on student debt as being one of the top priorities for young voters this upcoming election. She expanded by stating how important it is for young people to access institutions of higher education or enhance their skills through technical schools without consuming a lot of debt. Eatmon highlighted two ways MAP is working to help Millennials solve this problem. At the federal level, two Congressional Future Caucus members, Rep. Katie Hill (D-CA) and Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), are working on bipartisan legislation that will expand opportunities for higher education and technical skills. Sharing one example from the state level, Eatmon noted the recent bill signing of the Educational Savings Credit which was heavily supported by the Oregon Future Caucus. The Educational Savings Credit enacts a tax credit, up to $300, for contributions to a college savings plan making Oregon the first state to approve such a tax credit.
The conversation then shifted gears into jobs and the economy. The future of work and transferable benefits is a worry and a priority issue for Millennials, according to Eatmon. Expanding on what MAP is working on to address the future of work for young people, Eatmon shared that “at the 2019 Future Summit, young state legislators from across the country participated in cross-state discussions about protecting participants of the gig economy.” She went on to say, “our parents stayed at the same employer for 20 and 30 years and that’s not what Millennials are doing. We need access to benefits that afford basic protections that previous generations experienced.”
Along with the jobs and the economy being a top priority, Eatmon stressed the importance of elected officials being able to use social media to engage with Millennials. Through MAP, young people interact with legislators at events but legislators are also encouraged to express themselves on platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Eatmon emphasized using social media as a tool for the cross-pollination of ideas and bridge-building.
The panel concluded by discussing party lines and Millennials disassociating themselves with the two major parties. Eatmon said Millennials are not interested in the identity of the party, they are more concerned about whether or not elected officials have their best interests at heart. Younger generations are looking for tangible change this election. They’re encouraging elected officials to resolve these issues in a bipartisan manner.