MAP in the News

Leadership in Action: Bipartisanship and Young America

Polls show just more than half of young American voters believe that today's political discourse is far too polarized and partisan. With the 2020 election cycle fast approaching, the country's youngest voting bloc appears eager for change in the way Washington operates. Many issues that are top of mind for young Americans will require the support of both parties in Congress to reach the President's desk and be signed into law. 

At a time when hyper-partisan rhetoric seems to be dominating the national political debate, is a middle ground possible on key policy issues? How are leaders in Washington working to keep the American Dream alive and what conditions need to be created to ensure that good ideas gather support, regardless of the political landscape?

Continuing our Leadership in Action series, The Hill will convened congressional leaders and policy experts for an evening of conversations to explore the nation's legislative climate and the political pulse of the country's youth. 


  • Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA)

  • Rep. John Curtis (R-UT)

  • Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI)

  • Rep. Katie Hill (D-CA)


  • John Della Volpe, Founder, SocialSphere and Director of Polling, Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics

  • Cherisse Eatmon, State Caucus Network Director, Millennial Action Project


  • Vicky Wilkins, Dean, School of Public Affairs Department of Public Administration and Policy, American University


  • Steve Clemons, Editor-at-Large, The Hill

  • Peter Greenberger, Publisher, The Hill

  • Julia Manchester, Staff Writer, The Hill

Millennial Action Project Working To Bring Politicians From Across The Aisle Together

Steven Olikara, founder and president of the Millennial Action Project, explains what the 'post-partisan' nonprofit is doing to push bipartisan legislation through Congress.

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Millennials can’t afford real estate — destined to remain sad apartment dwellers

New York Post

By John Aidan Byrne

The American Dream for millennials just turned a new corner: Thanks to soaring student debt and crushing financial liabilities, homeownership is not in view.

Despite a slight uptick lately, the homeownership rate among millennials remains the lowest compared with previous generations. Roughly 1 in 3 US millennials under 35 owned homes at the end of last year.

Many analysts say indicators point to US millennial homeownership declining, perhaps even heading for a dive if a recession strikes.

According to a new study by LendEDU, 26% of millennials who are not yet homeowners identify a lack of savings; 10% blame “overwhelming” student loan debt; 5% blame “overwhelming” credit card debt; 6% blame other debt; and 17% cite poor credit. Nearly a quarter cite low income.

“I would love to own a home but I face what many other millennials are facing — the cost of mortgages and homeownership is beyond our means right now,” Steven Olikara, founder and president of the nonpartisan advocacy group Millennial Action Project, told The Post.

“It is really tough,” added Olikara, a college graduate, single and in his late 20s, who lives in a rental. “I see too many of my friends who’ve had to put their dream on hold because of too much debt, or because they do not have enough income.”

With job gains holding US unemployment at a historically low 3.7% rate — and the economy growing despite some pullback — millennials should be in a sweet spot. But analysts say overwhelming debt and a dearth of well-paid jobs are hurting the demographic, made up of roughly 22- to 37-year-olds.

“I see this phenomenon in my practice on a nearly daily basis,” said Gary DeVicci, managing director of advisory services at CPI Companies in Voorhees, NJ. “Millennials are often forced to move back home to save money and/or to reduce debt, so they can get ahead with their financial lives, which means buying a home of their own — the cornerstone of the American dream.”

But their debt is escalating. According to the Northwestern Mutual 2018 Planning & Progress Study, the typical millennial had some $36,000 in personal debt last year, excluding home mortgages. Millennials nationwide had one of the largest jumps in credit card debt in the past 12 months, with each holding an average of $4,712 in card debt in the first quarter, according to Experian.

And student debt, at some $1.5 trillion-plus, continues to skyrocket.

The Millennial Action Project’s Olikara cited a need to “embrace further flexible versions of college and dramatically improve vocational and other job training programs.” He added, “The last recession, and the burden of student and other millennial debt, have shifted the conversation. The economic challenges faced by millennials is a problem for the entire nation — everyone benefits if millennials do well.”

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Chyung among young lawmakers taking part in “future summit”

Indiana House Democratic Caucus

INDIANAPOLIS – State Rep. Chris Chyung (D-Dyer) was among a select group of young lawmakers from across the country who participated in a three-day “Future Summit” earlier this month in Nashville, Tennessee, designed to discuss policy initiatives of interest to future generations.

Chyung took part in the Millennial Action Project’s (MAP) third annual “Future Summit,” an event that drew nearly 60 legislators to collaborate on innovative solutions to the issues that matter to the next generation and learn tactics to encourage more collaborative governing environments in their statehouses.

“More young people are gaining interest in serving their communities through elected office, and they share common concerns that groups like MAP can help develop into actual policies that benefit us all,” Chyung said. “In addition, we share a collective belief that partisan gridlock in governmental institutions must be broken in order to make progress. MAP enables Republicans and Democrats to come together to achieve those goals.”

The “Summit” enables young lawmakers to build relationships across state and party lines, empowers them to effectively work across the aisle, and connects them with innovative policy resources and ideas. Topics discussed during the conference included the student debt crisis, redistricting and the census, modernized voting, the future of work, and attracting and retaining young talent.

“I am finding that we share many of the same goals, and by sharing information, I am hopeful to use some of the things I learned at this summit as a basis for legislation in the upcoming session of the Indiana General Assembly,” Chyung said.

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Millennial Action Project Hosts 3rd Annual Bipartisan Future Summit for Young State Legislators

Millennial Action Project Hosts 3rd Annual Bipartisan Future Summit for Young State Legislators

On August 2-4, 2019, Millennial Action Project (MAP) hosted its 3rd Annual Future Summit at Vanderbilt University. A bipartisan group of over 60 young elected officials joined MAP in Nashville, Tennessee for discussions surrounding policy issues impacting future generations, and tactics to foster more collaborative governing environments in their statehouses. 

How AOC leverages Bronx-style communications

How AOC leverages Bronx-style communications

Layla Zaidane, COO of Millennial Action Project, which aims to bridge partisan divides by mobilizing young people into office, highlights AOC’s transparency in her communication, "Breaking down the barriers between who we’ve traditionally seen as holding the power and sharing that with the people who put her there, the voters and general public, is an inclusive way to build civic engagement.”

Millennials are underrepresented in elected office

Millennials are underrepresented in elected office

In the next general election, millennials are expected to represent 27 percent of eligible voters, the second-largest group behind baby boomers, according to the Pew Research Center. Despite those numbers, however, my age group is underrepresented in elected office. One national group aims to increase young people’s influence in public policy, and it’s growing its footprint in Iowa.