Millennials are tired of political fighting and division and may play a role in moving beyond gridlock, two millennial-aged lawmakers said.
State Reps. Amanda Stuck, D-Appleton, and Adam Neylon, R-Pewaukee, joined Steven Olikara, the founder of the Millennial Action Project, for an interview that aired Sunday on “UpFront with Mike Gousha,” produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.
Neylon said millennials see the division in the country, predicting they will help it “swing back” in the future.
“Eventually people are going to be tired of that, and I think that’s going to start at a grass roots level in a younger generation,” Neylon said.
Stuck said millennials have not voted as much in the past, because “they feel like it doesn’t matter.” She said younger voters are now starting to become more involved.
Olikara said voters aged 18-39 turned out at much higher levels in the November midterm election. He said the youth vote nationally was 31 percent, the largest in a quarter century.
In Wisconsin, millennials made up 14 percent of the electorate, Olikara said, and they played a decisive role.
While young voter turnout was greatly improved, “it’s our view that it’s still too low,” Olikara said.
Stuck said it’s up to millennial-aged lawmakers to reach out to younger voters and show them why “it’s important to be involved.”
Stuck and Neylon are the co-chairs of the Wisconsin Future Caucus, which Neylon said is the only bipartisan caucus in the Legislature.
In another segment, Stuck and Neylon looked ahead to a possible extraordinary session in December.
Leaders of the Republican-controlled legislature have talked publicly about ways to codify some GOP rules and initiatives before Democratic Gov.-elect Tony Evers takes office on Jan. 7. Democrats have characterized that as a power grab.
Stuck said if Republicans move ahead with that in a lame-duck session, it would get their relationship with Evers “off on the wrong foot.”
“We can either set a tone now, that we’re all going to be adults in the room and show up and work together. Or we can show that some of us want to act like children and make it be about power instead of really working together,” she said.
Neylon said Republicans and Evers can find common ground in several areas, including some issues Evers ran on. Neylon said those areas include school funding, transportation funding, and economic development.
Also on the program, UW-Platteville Chancellor Dennis Shields said Platteville’s integration of the UW Colleges in Sauk and Richland counties is “going very well.”
The UW System is in the first phase of a plan to merge the two-year UW Colleges with four-year universities. The system proposed the mergers as a way to address declining enrollment at the colleges.
Shields said UW-Platteville plans to develop specific, applicable academic programs that can support business and industry in the areas of the colleges it has integrated.
In Richland County, that will include new agriculture programs. And in the Sauk County – Wisconsin Dells area, that will include business, tourism and hospitality-focused programs, he said.
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