#52Women52Weeks: Erin Schrode may be the youngest person running for Congress but that's not the onl
I sat down to chat with Randi Zuckerberg about how I plan to make change in politics - and not just by running for US Congress! I also had the incredible opportunity to sit in on Randi's radio show, Dot Complicated, where we talked millennials, money, and more...
Today the those aged 18 to 35— a.k.a. MILLENNIALS—have surpassed the Baby Boomer generation as not only the largest living generation, but also are now the biggest voter population in the country. Millennials are also those hardest hit by unemployment. Which means, starting now, politics are about to change dramatically.
Enter 25-year-old Erin Schrode, the co-founder (along with her mom) of Turning Green. Erin is the youngest candidate ever running for US Congress, hoping to unseat a Democratic incumbent in the California District 2 area. Currently on the campaign trail gearing up for the California Primary June 7th, Erin hopes to be, not only the youngest member of Congress, but also the first woman under 30 ever to serve.
1) What's key in securing a vote?
Show up. Look people in the eye. Listen to the issues that matter. Know the facts. Speak honestly. Be relatable. Engage in real time. Communicate openly. Lead with integrity. Follow through.
2) What's the number one problem facing U.S. Millennials today?
Student debt and a shifting job landscape.
3) How do you expect politics will most change in the next 20 years?
Digital tools will make government more transparent, effective, and efficient. The makeup of our elected officials will continue to change to be more representative of the population. I also think (hope!) we will be able to vote online, which will dramatically increase participation.
4) What's the best piece of advice you've received during your campaigning?
“If I had listened to the political pragmatists, I never would have run.” Like my dear friend, an elected official, I didn’t wait for someone to deem me “ready” or “right" in order to run. Our campaign has already achieved success beyond my wildest expectations, resonating with millions here and around the world – changing the definition of who can be a politician, while adding value to society and shining light on the issues that matter most.
5) If elected to U.S. Congress, what will be your top priority on Day One?
Campaign finance reform. That was not on my radar screen in a meaningful way when we launched this campaign; it is now a key pillar. We must first address that in order to affect lasting change around sustainable agriculture, education reform, 21st century workforce development, and gender equity, among other great challenges.
Millennials (those aged 18 to 35) have now surpassed the Baby Boomer generation as not only the largest living generation, but also are now the biggest voter population in the country. Millennials are also those hardest hit by unemployment. Which means starting now, politics are about to change dramatically.
Today on ‘Dot Complicated with Randi Zuckerberg’ author of Secrets of Financial Aid Pro, Jodi Okun, and Erin Schrode, the youngest candidate ever to run for US Congress, sat down to discuss Millennials & Money.
“We need to equip our young people to thrive on their own.”
“We are 6 days out from the Primary election on June 7th.”
“I had no idea what this journey is like. I love it.”
“I actually get to speak about solutions that improve our lives.”
“I am usually up around 6am. It’s a lot of meeting with people. It comes down to boots on the ground.”
“We marched with about 30 people on Memorial Day. It’s incredible to see the response.”
“Last night I was at a community meeting, I did a breakfast with parents. We’re going around giving lawn signs.”
“Turning Green started from studying toxins in the environment and how to reduce their effects.”
“As a then 13-year-old and now a 25 year old I’ve been able to help my generation live a more (fill in the blank ) life.”
“Working with kids is the best. We’re not afraid to challenge the status quo.”
“I was never one to say I was going to be a politician. Two and half years ago I gave a speech. It had an influence on my values and career.”
“I don’t fit the mold of who I think of as a politician but others told me that they need my voice in government today.”
“People don’t know how policy affects their lives if they don’t know.”
“What about having the ability to reverse the degradation of the environment?”
“I felt the burden of financial aid loans myself.”
“How do we implement forgiveness programs and reduce debt?”
“It’s our generation who are designing the future.”
“Now getting into the nuances of policy solutions is reinvigorating.”
“I didn’t think I had a snowball’s chance in hell when I first started campaigning. The way our message has resonated with people is astounding.”
“The way in which women of all ages are getting behind the campaign. The way elders are saying you’re the voice we’ve been waiting for.”
“Debt, student loans are carried with us after we graduation.”
“Jobs aren’t so different anywhere you go. How do we equip our students fill more than 20% of jobs right.”
“The entrepreneurial spirit needs to be fostered in our generation.”
“We’re talking about early childhood education. There’s a disadvantage straight from the get-go that needs to be fixed to level the playing field.”
“I’m a digital native so of course I launched my campaign online. I sent a tweet, a Facebook post and the world ran with it.”
“We accrued over 6 million views which is insane for a campaign launch.”
“We’re busting the campaign trail wide open using digital. Facebook Live is entirely unfiltered. That candor is what’s missing from politics today.”
“I got more excited about the Snapchat political team contacting me more than any other platform.”
“The word authenticity is being overused. Unfiltered nature shows you’re a real person.”
“Our country is 51% female, I don’t need a government of all women, but more to represent us and bring our needs into the fold.”
“This role running as a candidate in Congress is where I can best affect change.”
“Action is far too rare in our world today. Apathy is largest problem affecting our world now.”
“When you take that concrete step, people will coalesce around you.”