As Generation Y ages into the national political scene, two young lawmakers are launching the Future Caucus to address the concerns of millennials.
Announced by Reps. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) and Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), the Future Caucus will work toward "long-term solutions to issues facing America’s next generation." The lawmakers will partner with the Millennial Action Project to guide policy goals.
"We look at working on issues like energy, infrastructure and education, things we know that are important for our generation,” Schock said Wednesday afternoon.
"The first millennial in Congress and the youngest woman in Congress have come together to rally across party lines,” said Millennial Action Project President Steven Olikara. So far, all lawmakers who have joined the Future Caucus are in their 30s and 40s.
Republican Rep. Todd Young (Ind.), and Democratic Reps. Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.), Joseph Kennedy (Mass.) and Patrick Murphy (Fla.), the youngest member of Congress at age 30, have joined the caucus.
Sinema, 37, said she joined the group because her generation of lawmakers "lives in a post-partisan age" that cares more about finding solutions to the nation's problems than "red or blue, or elephants or donkeys."
Schock, 31, was first elected to Congress in 2008 at the age of 27. He joked that "as an eventual old, white dude," he felt the new group could work on cooperation on common issues.
The caucus aims to change the image of the House of Representatives, which is made up primarily of older, white males. Generation Y, or Millennials, were born from the early 1980s to the early 2000s. The cohort's oldest members are entering their thirties now.
Lawmakers must be 25 years old to be elected to the House of Representatives. Currently, the average age of House members is 57 years old, down slightly from 59 in 2008.
Gabbard, 32, became the youngest woman in Congress last year, and one of the first two female combat veterans in Congress.
Asked whether Congress being too old is a reason young people have lost faith in Washington, Gabbard jokingly said, "I would never say such a thing."
"I would," Schock replied. "I think if you put the 40 of us in a room and lock the door," Schock said, "we could come out with solutions that would pass the House and the Senate."