BOSTON — A group of young senators who set out about a year ago to study the attitudes, interests, frustrations and aspirations of the so-called millennial generation has recommended formally establishing a legislative millennial caucus and creating a scorecard to gauge progress on issues important to young people.
“It’s an engaged generation that is looking to make its mark but doesn’t necessarily at this point view politics and government as the way to do that,” Sen. Eric Lesser said. “So I think we have an obligation to step up and show them that government can and will be responsive to this generation’s needs.”
Lesser and Sens. Joseph Boncore, Julian Cyr and Patrick O’Connor — all part of the informal millennial caucus — presented the findings of the Senate’s 2016 Millennial Engagement Initiative on Wednesday, highlighting the generation’s interests in affordable housing, reliable transportation, student loan and credit card debt assistance and government transparency.
Among the report’s recommendations is a call for a website like WeThePeople.org, where people could start and circulate petitions that would trigger legislative action if enough people sign on, a requirement that all bills be accompanied online by a bill summary, student loan repayment for people working in human services, increased financial literacy training in schools, and creating concentrated housing “villages” specifically for millennials.
Boncore said addressing the needs of millennials is important to retaining an educated workforce in Massachusetts as students graduate from the higher education institutions in the Boston area.
“Millennials who are coming out of college and graduate school, they can’t stay here. And they can’t move out West and live out West where housing is less affordable because the transportation infrastructure simply doesn’t exist,” he said.
Asked what the Senate might be able to accomplish this session to address the needs of millennials, the senators pointed to zoning reform and a housing bond bill as two items that young people should be interested in seeing passed.