A group of under 45 Kansas legislators got together Tuesday to officially launch the Kansas Future Caucus.
“There are around 25 of us in the Legislature,” said Representative Stephanie Clayton, a Republican from Overland Park. “While we have not yet had our first organizational meeting, the main issues that we’ll be focusing on are those issues that face Kansans that are 45 and under. We know that we are sort of facing a bleed of Kansans out of the state. This is a very diverse group that faces very diverse issues.
“For instance, I have two nephews that live in southeast Kansas. They came back from serving their country. One works in law enforcement, one works in manufacturing. We’ve got a lot of people in this age group who are struggling to care for their families, dealing with the childcare shortage. Above all, one of the most important issues is job creation.
“Beyond that, we notice that there is a real mistrust of government for individuals in this age group and I think that people feel largely that they are disrespected or abandoned or ignored by those who represent them.”
Democrat Brandon Whipple noted that the brain drain out of the state doesn’t just affect millennials.
“Our number one export in Kansas is educated, talented, young people,” said Whipple. “Kansas has been exporting some of its best and brightest out of the state for years. This doesn’t just hurt communities who are losing their young people to opportunities outside of the state. When I was campaigning last election cycle, I had a conversation with a woman who was a grandma. She talked about how, in Wichita, her kids couldn’t get a job and wound up going out of state for other opportunities. By doing this, now she can only see her grandkids twice a year, when she gets to go and visit them during the holidays.”
Whipple also noted one of the reasons why young people leave the state, because they aren’t able to put down roots with one job like previous generations did.
“The average person who is going into the economy right now from these younger generations have an average of five careers. Not just jobs, five careers throughout their lifespan, which means they need access to higher education. They need access to job creation. They also need access to healthcare that’s not just tied to the traditional setting, where you work for a blue-chip corporation.”
The Future Caucus plans to have its first meeting next week.