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'What's hot right now': Meet Gen-Z PAC
Former Gen Z congressional candidate Ray Reed is starting a political action committee to support young Democrats like him who want to run for office
When Ray Reed, a 26-year-old Democrat from St. Louis, Missouri, launched his campaign for Congress last year, he wasn’t quite sure where to start.
“I wish I had a better idea of the day to day grind in the early days,” he told The Up and Up about running for Congress.
As part of the first batch of Gen Zers to run for federal office, Reed gained intimate experience with the challenges of running as a young person.
“When you start understanding how the process of running for any office works, it gives you a better launching pad for the grind of a campaign season,” he said.
Now, Reed’s launching Gen-Z PAC, a political action committee dedicated to supporting Gen Z Democrats running in both federal and state level races. According to a press release from the group, Gen-Z PAC will back progressive candidates in favor of: “gun control, action on climate change, reproductive freedom, union rights, a living wage, student debt cancellation, and protecting social services.”
While a number of Gen Z candidates from both parties ran for Congress in 2022 – most notably Democratic Rep. Maxwell Frost who ultimately became the first Gen Zer to win a federal election – there is plenty of opportunity for growth when it comes to the number of young people who could run.
Though Reed ultimately lost his primary race to former state Rep. Trish Gunby (who lost to incumbent GOP Rep. Ann Wagner in the November general election), Reed believes he’s uniquely positioned to mentor the next batch of Gen Z candidates. Beyond recruiting and training young candidates, he hopes to train and support volunteers, canvassers, text bankers, and door knockers, he said.
According to Reed, Gen-Z PAC launched with an initial goal of raising $100,000 this quarter and the group has started to fundraise via emails. While Gen-Z PAC filed with the FEC, no data has been reported yet ahead of this quarter’s filing deadline.
Asked if he has any concerns as he embarks on his new venture, Reed said:
“I don’t think Gen Z makes decisions based on concerns, I think we just do what we think is right.”
He added that he thinks the moment is ripe to ask older members of the party to invest in his generation after young voters once again demonstrated their political power and willingness to support Democratic candidates in the 2022 midterm elections.
“I don’t think we’ll get any pushback. The Gen Z wave is what’s hot right now,” he said.
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In 2023, a focus on Democracy: Alliance for Youth Action ramps up its voter access initiatives
As part of the Alliance for Youth Action’s 2023 plans, the group is further investing in pro-Democracy initiatives.
This year, the network of 20 youth-led and organizations will focus on increasing access to the ballot box by “pushing for fair redistricting, expanding Vote By Mail (VBM), restoring voting rights to citizens with past criminal convictions, lowering the voting age, fighting against anti-voter legislation, defending and expanding access to voting for college students, and election protection,” said Carmel Pryor, senior director of communications for the Alliance for Youth Action.
👀 Stay tuned 👀 As part of its effort, the Alliance for Youth Action is creating its first-ever zine, ‘Democracy Done Right.’
“Alliance Network youth organizers, from photographers to singers to graphic designers, will use their creative talents to shine a light on how they're advancing democracy in their communities through the Alliance's first-ever Democracy Done Right digital zine to be released later this year,” Pryor said.
After pushback from Taylor Swift fans (many of whom were vocal young Americans) over chaos with the pop star’s concert ticket sales last year, Swifties had a moment in Congress this week, when while questioning Ticketmaster executives on Capitol Hill, lawmakers including Sens. Richard Blumenthal, Amy Klobuchar, and Mike Lee quoted the artist.
Youth vote in the news 🗞
What the Senate Ticketmaster hearing tells us about young voters, Caroline Anders for The Washington Post
Meet the Rising Young Political Stars Who Are Rejecting Partisan Labels — and Getting Results, Sandra Sobieraj Westfall for People
What Do Young People Want?, Porter Wheeler for The Nation