Millennial Elected Officials: Why so few?

A new survey from Pew’s Stateline and the National Conference of State Legislatures shows millennials make up just 5 percent of the nation’s state legislators — while accounting for more than 30 percent of the total population.

That’s actually an improvement from 2009, when just 1 percent of state legislators were millennials. Fueling that growth were mostly young Republicans like West Virginia Rep. Saira Blair (age 19) and New Hampshire Rep. Yvonne Dean-Bailey (age 19). Ten of the 14 youngest state legislators are Republican.

Millennials are starting to seek and win public office. But, 5 percent is still pretty dismal, especially considering that many of the nation’s biggest problems — the national debt, higher education bubble, healthcare costs, and many others — are being punted to the next generation.

What’s stopping younger leaders from holding office? As a 26-year-old local elected official on the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, I personally saw many of the disadvantages and advantages that younger candidates face in my own campaign this year. Here are some that may shed light on these national statistics:



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