From the Office of Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi

Congressional Democrats Host 'Next Generation Democratic Summit'

April 21, 2004

Washington, D.C. -- More than 250 students and young leaders from 45 states and territories attended the first "Next Generation Democratic Summit" today. The daylong summit was chaired by Democratic Leaders Nancy Pelosi and Tom Daschle and co-chaired by Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and Leader Pelosi's "Thirty Something Working Group."

"Democrats are committed to listening to and working with young people," Leader Pelosi said. "We are hosting the Next Generation Democratic Summit to have an open discussion about the issues that affect you people’s future and to work together to get young people more involved. We are pleased to have the talent and enthusiasm of young Americans across the country who volunteer in their communities to help make our country a better place."

Pelosi and WWE wrestlers Chris Nowinski and Victoria opened the first ever "Youth Activism Town Hall" at the Summit. The Town Hall, moderated by MTV News correspondent Gideon Yago, provided the students and young leaders an opportunity to voice their concerns directly to Members of Congress and gave the Members a chance to hear directly from young leaders. The students and young leaders raised issues including higher education, the economy, Iraq, and national security.

The Members of Congress also listened to a panel discussion with Jean-Marie Lawson, a young businessperson from Kentucky, and Andrew Gillum, a Tallahassee City Commissioner, on how they became involved in public service, and how they encourage other young people to get involved.

"Young people are an enormous voting block, but they do not vote in numbers equal to their power," Pelosi told the students and young leaders. "Only 64 percent of Americans ages 18 - 30 are registered to vote, and only 42 percent actually voted in 2000. Together, we can change these statistics. But we need your help to mobilize youth to vote. By changing the statistics on who votes, we can change the direction of our country."

Gideon Yago of MTV News said: "MTV's goal with our 'Choose or Lose' campaign is to amplify the voice of the young voter. This year, as we aim to get 20 million young people to the polls in November, we are very excited to be working with both parties to engage young people in the election process and recognize the incredible power they have. Today's Town Hall was a great forum for young people to express their voices and opinions on the issues that matter most to them."
Pelosi’s "Thirty Something Working Group"

The "Next Generation Democratic Summit" was a joint collaboration with members of Leader Pelosi's "Thirty-Something" working group. The summit will be led by young leaders who are now Members of Congress: the 13 Democratic Members of the House of Representatives who are under the age of 40.

Several of the Working Group Members have traveled across the country to share with younger Americans the importance of civic engagement, and listen to their opinions and concerns. "Thirty-Something" outreach to college campuses and other young professionals events have taken place in Louisiana, Alabama, Massachusetts, Kentucky, Florida, and Michigan.

More then two in five (43 percent) of young adults say that the economy and jobs will be the most important to them in deciding whom to vote for in November, and 38 percent say that they will choose based on candidates' education platform. Terrorism and the war in Iraq (17 percent) emerge as second-tier issues. Democratic Members of Congress led discussions of these issues in small breakout sessions, and discussed policy proposals to bring down the cost of college tuition, stop the "outsourcing" of good paying jobs, and improve education.

Next Generation Democratic Summit Agenda

Registration and Welcome -- Welcoming remarks by Senators Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Tom Daschle (D-SD) and Congressmen Kendrick Meek (D-FL) and John Lewis (D-GA).

Breakout Sessions -- Join Members of Congress for small group discussions on public policy issues important to the next generation of Democratic leaders.

  • Civil Rights -- Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) and Reps. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL)
  • Education - Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Reps. George Miller (D-CA), Patrick Kennedy (D-RI)
  • Environment - Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Reps. Edward Markey (D-MA), Anthony Weiner (D-NY), Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)
  • Globalism - Reps. Kendrick Meek (D-FL), Rick Larsen (D-WA)
  • Jobs and the Economy - Sens. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) and Reps. Ron Kind (D-WI), Rahm Emanuel (D-IL)
  • National Service (SR-418) - Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Tim Ryan (D-OH)

Lunch Address -- Introduction by Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Address by Congressman Harold Ford Jr. (D-TN)
21st Century Activism Town Hall
Remarks by Rep. Nancy Pelosi
Remarks by WWE Wrestler Christopher Nowinski
Moderator: Gideon Yago, Correspondent, MTV News

  • Jonathan Chavez, Harvard Institute of Politics
  • Andrew Gillum, Commissioner, City of Tallahassee, Florida
  • Anna Greenberg, Vice President, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research
  • Jean-Marie Lawson, President, Kentucky Young Democrats
  • Rep. Linda Sanchez

The town hall discussion will focus on what energizes the next generation. Panelists will include young elected officials, celebrities, business leaders, and young community leaders who have successfully engaged young people to become more involved in the policymaking process. Members of Congress will listen to the panel and the audience to learn how best to motivate Democratic leaders of the next generation.




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