Advocates Discuss the Secret to Capturing the Millennial Vote
NEW YORK, NY – “John F. Kennedy told us space was the next frontier. Eight years later, man was on the moon. Where are the big dreams from our current political leaders?” asked Biko Baker, Executive Director of the League of Young Voters Education Fund, on a livestreamed discussion with Face the Nation.
The problems facing young Americans today are grounded in social reality, and that is what brought five of America’s most prominent youth leaders to a roundtable discussion on Google+ on Thursday. Face the Nation hosted the conversation with Biko Baker, Rock the Vote’s Heather Smith, Young Democrats of America’s Rod Snyder, Kristen Soltis of Crossroads Generation, and Lisa Stickan of the Young Republican National Federation.
Activists from both sides agreed that the Millennial generation will cast their ballots based on their financial footings in November. While Soltis emphasized that shrinking the national debt was a long-term strategy for growth, Baker called for immediate innovation and investment in young people.
“Both parties have under-invested in young people of color,” Baker said. “It’s incumbent upon us to not wait for any elected officials.”
A resident of Milwaukee, one of the country’s hard-hit working-class cities, Baker is intimately acquainted with the economic realities facing urban America, where education costs, inadequate transportation, and under-employment prevent social mobility and undercut belief in social progress.
However, the national attention given to the historic Wisconsin Recall Election earlier this month showcased youth enthusiasm in the 2012 electoral process. On June 5th, young people of color showed up in record numbers for Wisconsin’s recall election. Young volunteers with the Wisconsin League of Young Voters Education Fund knocked on more than 100,000 doors leading up to Election Day, and will keep their volunteers engaged for a summer of voter registration and community outreach.
“Young people are already engaged,” Baker said. “They’re already working hard to make ends meet. Imagine what they could do with support from our elders. The window is closing on an entire generation of young leaders, and we all have a responsibility to force it open and force progress for the next generation.”
Highlights from this conversation will air on Sunday, June 17, 2012 during Face the Nation on CBS. The full, archived conversation is available here
About the League of Young Voters Education Fund: LYVEF empowers young people nationwide to participate in the democratic process and create progressive political change on the local, state and national level – with a focus on non-college youth and youth from low-income communities and communities of color. The League meets young people where they are, works on issues that affect their lives, and provides them with tools, training, and support to become serious catalysts for change. Visit them @ YoungVoter.org.