BOSTON — On Wednesday, the State Senate’s bipartisan group of millennial legislators unveiled the Senate’s report on its 2016 Millennial Engagement Initiative, sharing the priorities of millennial residents from across the Commonwealth.
Senator Eric P. Lesser (D-Longmeadow) led the Senate’s millennial outreach last year with a series of roundtable discussions with millennials in 11 cities and towns across the Commonwealth. Rosenberg, Lesser and Millennial Caucus co-chair Ryan C. Fattman heard directly from young people about the policies they would like to see state government pursue.
“There are close to 76 million millennials in America; we now make up the largest living generation in the country. The perpetual idea that each generation should be better off than the previous one has dimmed in recent years, but through these policy initiatives it is our hope to harness innovation, creativity, and continue to give Americans the best foundation possible to be successful,” said Senator Ryan C. Fattman (R-Sutton).
The senators’ main takeaway was that young people have a growing frustration with both private and public institutions, and that more direct engagement from elected representatives is necessary.
One major recommendation from the Millennial Engagement Initiative report is that legislators should promote civics and financial literacy education to better prepare young people to get results from complex institutions. This will help them address political challenges and better manage their finances.
The Initiative also found that young people are burdened with large amounts of debt — not only student loans, but credit card payments and housing costs as well. They also need more diverse transportation options, since millennials are not buying cars as their parents’ generation did and rely more on public transit.
The senators’ report recommends a series of proposed bills, including Lesser’s Student Loan Bill of Rights to protect borrowers from servicers that steer them into costly repayment plans; a study of rapid transit systems introduced by Senator Patrick M. O’Connor; and several bills introduced to promote financial literacy education in schools.
The report formally establishes the state legislative Millennial Caucus to advance, monitor and evaluate the recommended policies in the report. And it creates a “Millennial Scorecard” to track the progress of these policies and show what Massachusetts legislators did to support the Millennial Agenda throughout the 2017-2018 session.
Since Lesser, 31, and Fattman, 33, were elected as the youngest members of the State Senate in 2014, three more millennial lawmakers have joined them in the Senate: Joseph A. Boncore, Julian Cyr and Patrick M. O’Connor.