Today, with the federal government more than $16 trillion in debt, the people feel misrepresented, and America’s guiding stars are not as bright as they once were. Generation Y is beginning to realize that if it wants to see a future shining with hope and opportunity, it must get involved politically. But these so called “millennials” are doing more than just voting in record numbers, they are running for public office, and winning.
In 2012, David Ober won a seat in Indiana’s House of Representatives when he was just 25. Michael Tubbs, a 22-year-old, recently became the youngest City Councilman in Stockton, California history. Now, 20-year-old Rashawn Davis is running for city council in Newark, New Jersey.
Davis was recently profiled by mtvU's correspondent Kendall Ciesemier about his decision to run for political office.
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Like Tubbs, Davis is beginning his campaign while still in college. I sat down with Davis at his Georgetown University campus to discuss his bid for councilman.
“No one on the Newark City Council is under the age of forty,” Davis said. “That creates a disconnect between the council and the people they represent.”
With 33% of Newark’s population between the ages of 20 and 39, Davis believes that the people of Newark are ready “to give young people a voice, especially when many of the problems in Newark — whether it’s crime, education or economic development — are issues that are intimately connected with young people.”
When I asked Davis how he thinks his age will affect campaign, he responded by saying that he had doubts when he started to run, but, he noted, “So many great movements have started on the backs of young people.” He pointed to Martin Luther King Jr. and President Obama as examples.
“Young people can really be inspirational and bring freshness to public service — that’s something that’s going to set me apart.”
Another way that the Davis campaign is setting itself apart is with social media. The campaign’s Twitter account is active, and Davis will soon be expanding to Facebook, YouTube and even Pinterest — all traditionally “youthful” media platforms.
Even at Davis’ young age, he thinks that his experience working for Councilman Duffy in D.C., Brick City Development Corporation in Newark, and the NAACP at Georgetown (of which Davis is the VP), give him the tools necessary to be city councilman.
And older voters seem to think so too. “I’ve had great conversations with older people and older people are contributing to our campaign in many ways,” said Davis. And with no challengers announcing their bid for the 2014 election just yet, Davis thinks he has a chance.
Young people have won elections in the past, and this makes it entirely possible for Davis to follow in their footsteps. And many more millennials are looking to do the same. “I think that I’m part of a larger movement to get young people involved and have their voices heard,” he said.
College Republicans, College Democrats, and Young Americans for Liberty consist of hundreds of thousands of college students from thousands of colleges across the nation. And as politicians continue to pass the burden of debt-repayment to future generations, youth involvement in politics will only grow.
With debt ceilings and fiscal cliffs swirling around our heads, it’s easy to see America’s future as a dim light in a big, uncertain, night sky. But it’s important to remember that millennials like Rashawn Davis are shining stars who are going to make a difference, and with dedicated people like him, we will be able to see the path to a brighter future once again.
To learn more about the Davis campaign, visit http://www.davisforwest2014.com