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'It’s time for a new generation of leaders'
Young politicos respond to Sen. Romney's bold statement, the UN hosts a youth event for International Day of Peace, a new poll from American University's Sine Institute, & Gen Z politicians' style.
I spent the past many months tracking the ins and outs of Gen Z politicians' style. Across party lines, it's all about authenticity.
My latest piece for The New York Times, ‘Doc Martens, Bomber Jackets, No Ties: Parsing Gen Z Politicians’ Style,’ examines how today’s youngest elected officials are dressing in and out of the halls of Congress, state legislatures, and City Councils — featuring Rep. Maxwell Frost, Missouri state Rep. Mazzie Boyd, West Virginia state Del. Caleb Hanna, New York City Councilman Chi Ossé, Maryland state Del. Joe Vogel, and Illinois state Rep. Nabeela Syed.
Check it out online or in today's print edition of the Sunday Styles 👀
Young politicos respond to Senator Mitt Romney
Senator Mitt Romney made a bold statement last week when he announced he will not seek re-election in 2024 — saying it’s time for young leaders to take the reins.
“At the end of another term, I’d be in my mid-eighties,” Romney said in a video address. “Frankly, it’s time for a new generation of leaders. They’re the ones that need to make the decisions that will shape the world they will be living in.”
Amidst all the talk about the gerontocracy in D.C., Romney’s statement is rare. So, I texted a few young politicos to see how they feel about his decision.
📲 Brilyn Hollyhand — 17, Co-Chair of the Republican National Committee’s youth advisory council — usually leans further to the right than the moderate Republican, but said: “For once, I think I actually agree with Romney! I wish more on the Hill would follow his lead and realize when it’s time to pass the baton to a younger generation!”
📲 Ramon Contreras — 24, Democratic strategist and political advisor to The Next 50, which supports young Democrats running for office — said: "I couldn't agree more with the outgoing senator; it is time for a new generation of leadership. I also hope this serves as a gentle reminder to our long-serving public officials that there’s life beyond the Capitol."
📲 Marianna Pecora — 19, Digital Advisor for Voters of Tomorrow, a youth engagement group — said: “If a member of Congress thinks they’ve given the American public all they have to offer, I think stepping down is the right thing for them to do — at any age. Especially since Senate terms are so long. That being said, there are some older members that I still get excited about.”
United Nation’s Youth Event for International Day of Peace
I spent Thursday morning with a roomful of young leaders at the United Nation’s youth event for International Day of Peace — a program focused on actions young people across the globe are taking to help achieve the UN’s 17 ‘Sustainable Development Goals,’ known as the SDGs. The event featured speakers, a performance from the Brooklyn Youth Chorus (shown below), and stories from students working on peace projects to boost social mobility, combat human trafficking, reduce period poverty, and improve global youth health and nutrition.
A majority of the event was moderated by climate activist and founder of Justice Environment Saad Amer, who in his introduction speech, led the room in chants — “What do we want? Climate Justice! When do we want it? Now!,” for example.
Outgoing UN Youth Envoy Jayathma Wickramanayake asked the room to imagine their version of peace, a question she said she’s asked young people around the world. “It is the interpretation of young people that peace is something bigger, peace is something broader…” she explained. “Peace,” Wickramanayake said, is “having freedom to live our lives the way we want to live.”
Meanwhile, 21-year-old climate activist Xiye Bastida, described peace as: “The ability to breathe clean air and drink clean water…. the ability to take care of your territory without repercussions… the ability to dream up a future and imagine joy… the ability to tell ourselves the truth: extraction, waste, fossil fuel burning, and the magnification of the climate crisis is the reflection of a broken system.”
“Peace,” she said, “is the bravery to imagine that better world and hav[ing] the courage to implement it.”
The event included an address from actor and UN Messenger of Peace Michael Douglas and beats from DJ Cuppy.
What does the ‘American Dream’ mean for today’s young Americans?
With its second annual poll of young people, American University’s Sine Institute of Policy & Politics probed what the ‘American Dream’ — a term young Americans have been historically taught in school, but maybe aren’t as familiar with in everyday life — means for the next generation of American leaders.
When it comes to rethinking the American Dream, the Sine Institute found that the country’s youngest citizens are concerned with happiness, relationships, freedom in decision making, and finances, according to its new poll, which was conducted in partnership with the Millennial Action Project, Close Up Foundation, and The Generation Lab.
Asked which buckets were “absolutely essential” or “very important” to the “reimagined American Dream,” of the respondents ages 18-34:
87% said “feeling personally happy and fulfilled”
87% said “freedom to make life decision: where to live and what kind of job you have”
82% said “close and meaningful personal relationships”
81% said “financial success”
The survey also found that young Americans expect their life to be better than that of their parents in almost all regards — except when it comes to having a “functional government that represents all,” demonstrating generational pessimism toward the role of US government. While today’s young Americans said they expect their lives to be better than their parents when it comes to education, jobs, relationships, and even mental health, they are not anticipating the government will function and represent them any better than it has their parents generation.
Along those lines, while we’re still more than a year out from the 2024 election, only half of those surveyed said they are extremely or very motivated to vote — and just over half said they think the results of the 2024 election will have a big impact on their life. While 44% said they would “definitely” or “probably” vote for President Joe Biden in 2024, 32% said they would “definitely” or “probably” vote for the Republican candidate. 24% of those surveyed say they are “undecided.”
Read more here: For young Americans, politics breaks the American dream instead of building it, Elena Moore for NPR.
More youth vote in the news 🗞
Harris courts young voters — many who are worried about Biden's advanced age, Gabe Gutierrez, Molly Roecker and Nnamdi Egwuonwu for NBC News
Ramaswamy joins TikTok as other GOP candidates snub Chinese-owned app, Erin Doherty for Axios