Wisconsin Future Caucus

Reps. Amanda Stuck, D-Appleton, and Adam Neylon, R-Pewaukee, announced on Wednesday their plans to co-chair a bipartisan Wisconsin Future Caucus of state lawmakers age 40 and under. 

PHOTO BY JESSIE OPOIEN

Millennials are killing napkins, home ownership and fabric softener. But in Wisconsin, they're about to try killing partisan gridlock, too.

Reps. Amanda Stuck, D-Appleton, and Adam Neylon, R-Pewaukee, announced on Wednesday their plans to co-chair a bipartisan Wisconsin Future Caucus of state lawmakers age 40 and under. 

Wisconsin is the 19th state to launch a Future Caucus, with the help of the national group the Millennial Action Project. 

The national group has Wisconsin ties. It was founded by Steven Olikara, a University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate. And the Congressional Future Caucus is led by Reps. Carlos Curbelo, R-Florida; Kyrsten Cinema, D-Arizona; Stephanie Murphy, D-Florida; and Mike Gallagher, R-Wisconsin. 

"We hope to show that all of us working together can really come together, put aside the bickering, the partisanship that has taken a death grip on our state and so many places across the county and show there are more areas where we can agree," Stuck said at a news conference.

The caucus has about 20 members, the lawmakers said. Six or seven are Republicans, Neylon said, and the rest are Democrats.

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Neylon said he believes the caucus can tackle issues that "aren't left or right, but are, in some ways, generational." Those issues include robotics and computer science. A good starting point, Neylon said, might be legislation related to self-driving cars.

"The number one reason that I agreed to do this is that I believe in this generation," Neylon said. "I believe that we’re going to solve a lot of challenges moving forward."

Asked if Future Caucuses in other states have succeeded in passing legislation, Olikara pointed to a law in California that allows state employees to be reimbursed for using ride-sharing services like Uber and short-term rental services like Airbnb when traveling on state business, and a law in Colorado that allows ride-sharing companies to operate legally with safety regulations. 

Olikara said it's important to "build some early wins" and work toward addressing more challenging issues as momentum grows.

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Jessie Opoien covers state government and politics for the Capital Times. She joined the Cap Times in 2013 and has also covered Madison life, race relations, culture and music. She has also covered education and politics for the Oshkosh Northwestern.