At a time when the political divide seems wider than ever, one group believes the younger generation is more focused on bipartisanship. The Millennial Action Project, a national organization of millennial lawmakers, is working with Colorado state legislators during this legislative session.
“Millennials don’t view politics as the typical right versus left, red team versus blue team spectrum. They view politics as an idea of bringing together Americans from a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives,” said Reilly Rastello, a Colorado-based policy coordinator for Millennial Action Project.
While the Pew Research Center defines millennials as those born between 1981 and 1996, the Millennial Action Project extends that to include politicians under the age of 45. The group says 345 millennials were elected to state legislatures across the country in the last election.
Whether in states, or at a national level, the goal is to bring politicians from different parties together, to find common ground and craft bipartisan bills.
Colorado State Sen. Jeff Bridges (D-Arapahoe County), a member of the Millennial Action Project, says it may not be just about age and partisan politics is bad for governing.
“The Millennial Action Project is all about how young people have less of that party identity. They feel less of that tribalism that, frankly, I think is polluting American politics,” Bridges said.
He said he believes Colorado lawmakers are largely committed to bipartisanship, even with a democratic-controlled legislature and governor.
“We could pass bills with no Republican support at all and instead what you’ve seen over last two years is that 90% of bills have had bipartisan support and two-thirds have had support of half of Republicans,” Bridges said.
Rastello said the Millennial Action Project is hoping to work on criminal justice reform issues this year, and other issues where they believe politicians with opposing views can find common ground.
“We’re bringing empathy back into politics and trying to see where people are coming from,” Rastello said.