DES MOINES — Iowa’s younger lawmakers are forming a millennial caucus to work across party lines to break partisan gridlock and address issues important to their generation today and in the future.
“We’re really committed to trying to figure out what are the issues that aren’t yet being talked about, that aren’t yet partisan, and how we make progress on those issues,” freshman Sen. Zach Wahls, D-Coralville, the youngest member of the Senate at age 27, said during the launch of the Iowa Future Caucus at the Capitol on Wednesday. “For us, these are not just issues that are going to be off in the future. 2050, for us, is not really that far away.”
He was joined by his three co-chairs Rep. Lindsay James, D-Dubuque, Rep. Joe Mitchell, R-Mount Pleasant, and Sen. Zack Nunn, R-Bondurant, as well as Sen. Zach Whiting, R-Spirit Lake. James, Mitchell and Whiting are freshmen legislators.
The Iowa Future Caucus is part of the Millennial Action Project, a nonpartisan 503c organization trying to launch a movement of young legislators who believe in transcending partisanship. Iowa is the 28th state to join the project’s national State Future Caucus network, a bipartisan group of legislators 40 and younger.
The average age of Iowa legislators is 54.8, with ages ranging from 21 to 78. The caucus members said there are six senators and about a dozen representatives under 40.
Mitchell joked that at 21 he’s really Gen-Z rather than a millennial but said he is happy to be a part of the Future Caucus.
“This is one of the biggest things I’ve thought about in my time at the Capitol,” said Mitchell, who worked four years at the Statehouse before being elected in 2018. It seemed that working with the “other side” was frowned upon, he said.