Millennials in the media today are being criticized for their lack of involvement in politics. There are members of the new generation who just glance at headlines on the lack of younger people in politics, and then their are those who take actions on this. One of the prime examples we can see os this is 23 year old Josh Lafazan who is running for public office on Long Island. He is an engaged and informed candidate with past political experience such as being on Syosset school board at only 18, making headlines all over New York, and on news outlets such as ABC.
As a team member on the campaign of Josh Lafazan, the political issues facing Long Island have come to light for me, and the peers around me. I have learned first hand the issues facing young candidates who aspire to hold public office, and the biggest one, is overcoming the stigma of being a young candidate. Josh Lafazan is a 23 year old democrat who at only 18 years old ran for school board and successfully won, while receiving a majority of votes.
He at this young age already has more experience in public office than his republican opponent. It is stories like these that are currently leading the way for teens to believe that there is a possibility to enter politics, even if an older audience does not believe in their aspirations. Josh is running one of the youngest political campaign, with his campaign interns ranging from students in their last year of college to freshman in high school.
He speaks to the intern team, which I am honored to be a part of, on how ageism affects us in the realm of politics. We always are striving to be confident and look professional to seek the trust of the people behind the doors we knock on. Because we, the intern team, are so young, and are trying to appeal to an older audience, we rely on our confidence and wits. We engage in conversations with voters to teach them of the platform we are running on as we conquer issues such as the heroin epidemic on Long Island.
Laura Curran, the first woman running for county executive on Long Island, told us that 60% of heroin treatment is covered by Medicaid, which is being repealed by the new republican healthcare bill. She as well spoke to us on ageism and said “fake it until you make it”, and over time we will be more confident. Even if the audience we are reaching doesn’t want to listen to our views, we will be confident to approach them and engage them about our platform. Laura will be running on the same ticket as Josh in November, both as Democrats.
Josh spoke on his experience with ageism and his internship in the Surgeon General’s office, and how he was disregarded in the office as he was 19. He states how “if I was 30 instead of 19 I would have been treated more fairly”. It is so important for young people to become involved in domestic politics like Josh is, and to pave the road for younger people who aspire to be involved in politics.