RICHMOND — How many millennials does it take to form a caucus?
Members of Virginia’s House of Delegates found out Wednesday as 10 young or young-at-heart lawmakers announced the formation of the Virginia Future Caucus.
Informally known as the millennial caucus, members broadened the group’s age range to welcome delegates under 45 years of age. Millennials are typically defined as those born in 1980 or later.
Younger members of the chamber have talked about forming a caucus for years, but with 19 new delegates — many of them under age 45 — in the House this year, the new caucus was born.
A partnership formed this year between Dels. Will Morefield, R-Tazewell, and Lashrecse Aird, D-Petersburg, who have been pushing Morefield’s legislation to provide assistance to Virginia’s “economically distressed” regions, was the tipping point. Both are millennials.
“Most younger Virginians, or millennials for that matter, are tired of the status quo,” Morefield said.
Like-minded lawmakers frequently form General Assembly caucuses. The millennial caucus joins the ranks of the transparency, conservative, sportsmen’s and rural caucuses, just to name a few. Both chambers also have Republican and Democratic caucuses that meet daily during session.
Although all those eligible did not attend Wednesday’s announcement, the 30 or so lawmakers who qualify will discuss millennial issues and bond across the aisle through social events. Dels. Sam Rasoul, D-Roanoke, and Christopher Peace, R-Hanover, will co-chair the caucus.
Millennial citizens are frustrated with the current political situation, and they’re fired up and ready to spark change, said several caucus members. But many of them are not politically engaged because they feel marginalized, Peace said.
“I think we’re all really looking to hopefully be caretakers, but also reformers so that we can get this population engaged and contributing to Virginia’s next 400 years,” he said.
The Future Caucus idea came from the Millennial Action Project — a national group focused on invigorating the nation’s youngest leaders to forge bipartisan bonds that could reduce political gridlock. Virginia becomes the 21st state to start a Future Caucus.
To celebrate their new caucus, the young lawmakers posed for a selfie at the close of the news conference.