|From left to right: Rep. Aaron Ling Johanson, Councilmember Stanley Chang, Rep. Beth Fukumoto, Rep. Takashi Ohno, Rep. Kaniela Ing, and Rep. Chris Lee|
Young Legislators Establish Hawaii Future Caucus
Bipartisan effort launched to engage young people, increase government transparency
HONOLULU – A bipartisan group of state and county leaders age 40 and under have established the Hawaii Future Caucus (HFC) to increase government openness and participation among young people. The Caucus will facilitate policy discussions between public, private and nonprofit sectors and advance legislative packages within the State House and City Councils.
The Co-chairs are State Representative Beth Fukumoto, a Republican, State Representative Takashi Ohno, a Democrat, and Honolulu City Councilmember Stanley Chang. The three legislators will work together to execute programming and lead policy strategy discussions for HFC.
“Young people are frustrated by the partisanship they see within all levels of government, and as a result, they’re disengaging,” said Fukumoto. “But if the system is going to improve, these are the very people our government needs to involve.”
The Caucus has identified two priorities that it considers barriers keeping young people from participating in government; government transparency and voter participation.
“Improved voter participation and transparency in government are not issues exclusive to any one political party,” said Ohno. “By addressing these obstacles, we make government accessible and appealing to an entire generation of young people and help them transition into roles of active citizenship.”
“At the end of the day, young people just want to see problems getting solved. If we can show that we can work together productively on issues that are important to everyone, it may help restore confidence and encourage engagement in government,” said Chang.
A 2013 Harvard study found that almost half of people (47%) age 18-29 agree that “politics today are no longer able to meet the challenges our country is facing,” and another third (36%) were apathetic to the question. Voter turnout among the same age group dropped from 51% to 45% between the last two national elections.
The Hawaii Future Caucus is working with the Millennial Action Project (MAP), a nonprofit working to move America beyond political gridlock with next generation leadership and innovative, future-focused policy dialogue. MAP recently worked with Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) to form the Bipartisan Congressional Future Caucus with Congressman Aaron Schock (R-IL).
"We are extremely proud of Representative Fukumoto, Representative Ohno, and Councilmember Chang for spearheading the Hawaii Future Caucus. Their fresh perspective, innovative ideas, and post-partisan approach is an excellent model of leadership," said Steve Olikara, President and Co-Founder of the Millennial Action Project.
For more information about the Hawaii Future Caucus, please visit its Facebook page, www.facebook.com/HawaiiFutureCaucus. For more about the Millennial Action Project, please visit http://millennialaction.org.