By Deonta Larkins
INDIANAPOLIS – Some of state’s youngest legislators have created the Indiana Future Caucus to organize millennial lawmakers like themselves across party lines to address issues affecting their generation.
“The people gathered today are young legislators committed to building our state to be a healthier, stronger, with greater opportunity, and to be more welcoming to our talented and educated millennials who make Indiana their home,” said Rep. Dan Forestal, D-Indianapolis.
Rep. Dan Forestal, D- Indianapolis, Rep. Dave Ober, R- Albion, and Steven Olikara, President and Co-Founder of Millennial Action Project, accompanied by other young legislatures Earl Harris Jr., D-East Chicago, Joe Taylor III D-South Bend, and Michael Niland, Insurance Institute of Indiana, at the podium addressing getting millennials involved in politics.
The Indiana group is part of the Millennial Action Project (MAP) a national, nonpartisan and nonprofit organization dedicated to activating young policymakers to bridge the partisan divide and lead a new era of collaborative governance.
Millennials are people who were born from the early 1980s through the early 2000s.
The caucus is joining MAP and its national movement of young elected officials because they say they want to break through partisan gridlock to reestablish cooperation between the two political parties.
Forestal, Rep. Dave Ober, R-Albion, and Hoosier Steven Olikara, president and co-founder of Millennial Action Project, announced the formation of the Indiana group at a press event Wednesday.
Among legislatures to join the movement are Sen. Eddie Melton, D-Merrillville; and Rep.s Joe Taylor III, D-South Bend; Earl Harris Jr., D-East Chicago; and Timothy Wesco, R-Osceola.
In 2013, MAP organized America’s first-ever bipartisan caucus for young members of Congress – the Congressional Future Caucus.
MAP’s future caucus network has expanded into more than 15 state legislatures and grown into the largest nonpartisan organization of millennial elected officials in the United States.
“We need to be encouraging young Hoosiers to get involved in our political process and run for office,” Ober said. “To make a difference for our younger generation, but also for the future of our state, that’s why this caucus is being formed.”
They want the young people in the state to know this is a national movement of young legislators, primarily under age 40, who say they want to rise above partisanship and focus on real solutions facing the millennial and future generations.
“Millennials I think are one of the most under represented demographics, not only in Indiana but across the country,” Olikara said. “So, I think more young people frankly, just need to run for office. If there is a issue there an issue they care about and they just keep running into a wall it times to run for office.”
In Indiana, millennials make up 27.5 percent of the population and approximately 5 percent of them are represented in the Statehouse.
Deonta Larkins is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.