Over the coming months, a new generation of young leaders will take office in cities and states across the country, and Congress will welcome dozens of Gen Xers and millennials to its ranks. These committed young leaders’ visions for progressive change helped them secure wins on Election Day, but being in office requires a wider and more complex skill set to be able to shape public discourse and transform their ideas into policy.
In the November 16 episode of “The Progressive Happy Hour,” cohost Drew Courtney and guest host Diallo Brooks chat with affiliate People For the American Way Foundation’s Young Elected Officials (YEO) Network Program Manager Raquel Jones about why young leadership is so important and how the YEO Network supports young elected leaders through its expansive network of members and alumni.
Raquel explained that young leaders’ valuable perspectives and insights uniquely position them to represent our communities. And the rapid growth of the YEO Network makes clear that they are an increasingly critical demographic in our political leadership: Since it was founded in 2005, the YEO Network has grown to include “over 1200 members across the country at every level of office … from city council members and school board members [to] state legislators … and [members of Congress].”
Raquel shared that because the YEO Network was created “of, by and for” its members, they shape their agenda based on their priorities, including “negotiation skills, grant-writing, op-ed and writing skills, [and] ethics in leadership … At [our annual] convening, members that never knew each other come together collaborate on different issues, gain policy insight from each other and take it back home.”
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