Millennial legislators Representative Michael Curcio (R-69) and Senator Raumesh Akbari (D-29) announced the creation of the Tennessee Future Caucus on Tuesday, February 26, 2019. Their leadership will guide the Tennessee Future Caucus as a way for state legislators under 45 to build bipartisan policy solutions that focuses on people rather than party. The two lawmakers were joined by House Speaker Glen Casada and Lt. Governor Randy McNally, both of whom vocalized their support of Future Caucus’ establishment in Tennessee as young legislators enter politics.
As Sen. Akbari explained, “The whole purpose of the Future Caucus is to say ‘Hey! It doesn’t matter if we’re Republican or Democrat, red or blue, or a little bit of purple in between. We know that there are issues that we can agree on—that we can set aside partisanship, that we can focus on things and help OUR state move forward.’ That’s why I’m so excited about this Future Caucus.”
As the twenty-ninth caucus to join MAP’s State Future Caucus Network, the Tennessee Future Caucus will address statewide issues that transcend party lines. Both Sen. Akbari and Rep. Curcio expressed excitement to see how young legislators from across the political spectrum will now collaborate with the platform of the Tennessee Future Caucus.
“What I like to remind folks is that 98% of what we do, especially here in the Tennessee legislature, is typically bipartisan, it’s the nuts and bolts of running government,” said Rep. Curcio. “Red and blue, those are the politics of old… not to say that we’re going to always agree on everything, but I do think for our generation those disagreement points, those fault lines, while they still exist, I think they exist on a different plane.”
Millennial Action Project’s President Steven Olikara noted the value in building a network of similar such caucuses across the nation, and thanked the co-chairs for stepping up to embody a mission of collaboration. “I also want to thank the Speaker for joining us… his support means a lot to this effort. Providing opportunities for the next generation to lead in the state and so that we can have a voice for younger voters and their concerns is so important,” Olikara expressed.
The two co-chairs highlighted criminal justice reform as a priority issue going forward. Rep. Curcio cited that with a new generation of lawmakers entering the political realm the perspective of how to do politics has changed—with a preference for creating a space where there is opportunity to collaborate on policy solutions.