In her book, The Millennial Myth, Crystal Kadakia says, “We thrive when we are pulled by the future, not pushed by the past.” This is, I think, a perfect summation for the creation of the Wisconsin Future Caucus.
Last month, Rep. Amanda Stuck and I announced the creation of the Wisconsin Future Caucus, a bipartisan group of Wisconsin state legislators under the age of 40. The purpose of this group is to work together to find common ground on critical issues that affect Wisconsin, both current issues and those of the future. In this time of political discord, it is important to remember that all of us in the state legislature, regardless of party, want what’s best for Wisconsin.
We in the legislature don’t always agree with our colleagues on the other side of the aisle. That’s a given. But when we accept that, and start looking to solve problems that we can agree on, we might find that it’s a little easier to come together on the tougher issues. Bipartisanship isn’t as hard as some may think. I have good friends in this legislature that are Democrats, and I’m willing to listen to anyone if they have a good idea. A good idea is a good idea. This is the attitude of the Wisconsin Future Caucus.
Some issues aren’t partisan at all, but are, I believe, generational. Science and technology, broadly, is a bipartisan subject. Science is going to advance, whether we like it or not. Autonomous vehicles, a subject I’ve long been passionate about, is a technology on the rise. It will revolutionize how people get from A to B, and it will save lives in the process. Through the work of the Governor’s Autonomous Vehicle Steering Committee and the Wisconsin Future Caucus, we can help usher Wisconsin into a world of zero deaths on the roads.
Another bipartisan issue I’ve championed that is tailor-made for the Wisconsin Future Caucus is the creation of a robotics grant program for high school teams. Since Gov. Walker signed my bill last year, creating 2015 Wisconsin Act 280, robotics teams in schools around the state have been flourishing, and more kids have been getting excited and involved in STEM curriculums. This isn’t just a great extracurricular for our students, it is preparing them for the workforce of the future. Robotics is a vital part of today’s manufacturing industry, and it will only become more vital as time goes by. I believe expanding this program to include junior high school students is something the Future Caucus should prioritize.
Why Millennials? According to population estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau last year, Millennials (defined by the Bureau as people born between 1981 and 1997) are the nation’s largest living generation. We as a generation are now starting out (and rising up) in the world of business, politics, science, and education. We are starting families and buying homes and paying taxes, and it’s never too early to start planning for the future, especially when it comes to policies enacted by our elected representatives.
We’re not disparaging older or younger generations, or saying that we’re the only generation that can solve any problems. But I believe in this generation, and I believe that this generation will solve a lot of the challenges of the future.
There’s no better time to start than now.