Pennsylvania's legislature has numerous caucuses of like-minded members to advocate for pet projects - for hunters and supporters of the arts, to name just two.
The newest, PA Future Caucus, seeks nothing less than to change politics by rallying lawmakers of the millennial generation around the idea of working across partisan boundaries to get things done.
State Rep. Nick Miccarelli, 32, a Delaware County Republican, and State Rep. Kevin Boyle, 35, a Philadelphia Democrat, cochair the group, formed this month. The effort has won the endorsements of U.S. Sens. Robert P. Casey (D., Pa.) and Patrick Toomey (R., Pa.)
"What is often mistaken as political apathy among millennials is really an expression of frustration at the lack of progress and results," Miccarelli said in a statement. The PA Future Caucus would seek to battle cynicism by working together, he added.
Much has been made of the potential political power of millennials, generally defined as people born between 1981 and 2002. Philadelphia has a growing share of the cohort. In general, millennials do not vote or otherwise engage in politics at the same rate as older citizens. "By uniting our younger legislators toward a common goal, we hope to set a precedent for how government should work and to begin to rebuild that trust," Boyle said in a statement, calling for a more inclusive political debate that will "energize" younger people.
Dan Kessler, a Philadelphia investment analyst and a member of the Millennial Action Council, helped bring the representatives together for the Pennsylvania venture. It is patterned after a bipartisan young members' caucus in the House that the council recently organized.
Among the issues that the caucus plans to tackle, Kessler said, are the soaring cost of college tuition, and high levels of student-loan debt. "Our mission," he said, "is to empower the next generation of leadership."