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Looking To the Future with Virginia's Millennial Lawmakers

AP Photo / Steve Helber

The future is now. Or at least that’s what some lawmakers in Richmond say.

"Isn’t this cool? This is awesome!”

That’s Steven Olikara, president and founder of the Millennial Action Project. No it’s not a craft beer club. It’s a nonpartisan organization aimed at working with millennial policymakers to overcome gridlock. He’s celebrating the creation of the Future Caucus at the General Assembly, a bipartisan group of millennials and even a few Gen Xers.

“You see this sentiment so widely across young people today who feel like government is stuck in a previous era. I think if there’s any group capable of reinventing government for the 21st century, it is the group standing right here.”

Delegate Chris Peace, a Republican from Mechanicsville, says part of the goal is to craft legislation to adapt to rapidly changing technology — like Airbnb and Uber.

“We also have had bills on Bitcoin, and people don’t know what that is and so there is an issue with translation between what is going on in the real world, the millennial generation, and the rest of it.”

They say they want to tackle college debt relief, teacher pay and transparency in government. But the first goal, they say, is to have a good time together. So the first order of business was to elect a social secretary, Republican Delegate Emily Brewer of Suffolk.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.