The impact of Gen Z on the political climate has been undeniable over the past few years. From shattering youth voter turnout records to preventing a red wave, this generation is unmistakably shaping the course of history. But they’re not stopping at casting ballots – they’re stepping up to the plate and running for office, and achieving victory. This is no small feat — the current political system tends to favor the older, wealthier, and white demographic, leaving the voices of the youth underrepresented. Now, at the forefront of addressing this disparity is Leaders We Deserve, a new grassroots organization founded by David Hogg and Kevin Lata that’s committed to ushering in a new wave of progressive young politicians.
“We’ve been working on this since early January,” Hogg, who previously co-founded March For Our Lives, tells Her Campus. “It is very hard running for office at any age, but it’s especially hard for young people who don’t have an enormous political network.” Hogg connected with Lata, campaign manager for Maxwell Frost, the first Gen Z member of congress, about “all of the amazing young people that are running for office.” He says, “I talked to [Lata] and I said, it’d be really great if we could help to bring more Maxwells into office to reflect our generation and its values, and really focus on doing that at the state [level], especially.”
While Gen Z and millennials constitute 45% of the voting population, their representation in state legislature seats is limited to a mere 21%. To help bridge this gap, the Leaders We Deserve PAC and SuperPAC aim to collaborate with 15 to 30 candidates who are below the age of 30 on their campaigns for state legislature, as well as “probably one or two for Congress,” Hogg says. These candidates will be strategically chosen from pivotal states like Florida, Texas, and Georgia — recruiting for this, Hogg says, “will be a pretty competitive process.”
“Really, what we’re trying to do here is supercharge campaigns in lean red states,” Hogg says. “States that have not flipped and probably will not flip this cycle, but could flip in the next 10 to 15 years. We’re trying to invest in these young people to start to build a bench.”
Basically, Leaders We Deserve is embarking on a mission to establish an “EMILYs List”-equivalent tailored to Gen Z. This endeavor aims to bolster candidates who resonate with the ideals of our time, strategically pairing them with the essential resources required to orchestrate campaigns, secure victories, and ultimately redefine the dynamics of power. Leaders We Deserve is doing this important work with the help of their advisory board, which boasts names like Frost (D-Florida), Lauren Underwood (D-Illinois), Justin Jones (D-Tennessee), and Nabeela Syed (D-Illinois).
“We really want to find the best leaders that we can from our generation and supercharge [them] with our campaigns, and make a real difference,” Hogg says. “We don’t want to come in as an organization that just endorses as many people as possible, [and] stretch ourselves too thin. We really want to make a difference for these young people that need help the most.”
To be part of this groundbreaking movement and support the rise of progressive leaders who truly represent the aspirations of our generation, donate to the cause by visiting the Leaders We Deserve website. By donating, you become an essential pillar of this movement, providing the financial backing that young candidates need to break down barriers and amplify their voices on the political stage.