House Republicans held their first Policy Committee hearing of the year on how to reach out to the next generation of American leaders, the Millennial generation. Leading the task-force is the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, and a Millennial herself, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY).
Rep. Luke Messer (R-IN), the Policy Committee Chairman, started the hearing by explaining why this task-force was important. “[Millennials’] ideas, energy, and ingenuity are the keys to America’s success in the 21st Century,” he said. “Therefore bringing Millennials into the political process will make our nation and party stronger.”
Messer also referenced statistics that showed only 25% of millennials trust the federal government and only 17% trust Congress. “We have to show them that their opinions matter to us…and that our policies will make their lives better.”
Stefanik talked about how important her generation is and the challenges many millennials face and will continue to face in the near future.
“Millennials have now surpassed Generation X-ers as the largest generation in the US labor force,” she said. Yet, “the unemployment rate for the ages 20-24 is a staggering 10.1%, almost double the national rate of 5.5%”.
Stefanik also mentioned how student loans and our national debt are hindering economic growth for her generation and the lack of interest Millennials show in wanting to run for political office.
As a member of the Baby Boomer generation, Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN) acknowledged the impact that many inventions created by millennials have had on the world. She referenced her use of Uber and social media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and announced that she will soon be on Snapchat.
“The entrepreneurial spirit of the millennial generation I think is something that reflects the Republican Party’s ideals,” she said.
Brooks recognized the educational value that this generation provides, “Millennials are the most educated group of Americans in the country… We need your solutions and your ideas”.
Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO), the 2nd youngest GOP member in Congress, discussed the age difference between the Republican and Democrat members and leadership in Congress. He showed that the Republican Party actually “is the younger party” (as pointed out by Opportunity Lives’ Ellen Carmichael in a recent post) and can better represent the millennial generation.
This hearing is only one of many as the GOP continues to make inroads with the next generation of leaders in America.
Ashley Craig is the Digital Director for Opportunity Lives. You can follow her on Twitter @aacraig1280.