Massachusetts Senate Holds Twitter Town Hall, College Student Roundtable As Part of Outreach to Millennials

Senate President Stan Rosenberg, along with Senators Eric Lesser (D-Longmeadow) and Ryan Fattman (R-Webster), held a Twitter Town Hall and College Student Roundtable this week as part of the Senate’s new Millennial Engagement Initiative. “The level of participation is great. The enthusiasm we’re seeing only confirms our belief that millennials are ready and willing to engage with government, if we connect with them on the channels they use on the issues they’re passionate about. It is our goal that through continued outreach like this, millennials will stay engaged with us on both the local and state level, and grow to the level we are seeing in this presidential election,” Senate President Rosenberg said.

“These events opened a new way for the Senate to engage with constituents,” Sen. Eric Lesser said. “Whether through Twitter town halls or face-to-face meetings, it’s important to listen to the unique needs and challenges Massachusetts millennials face.”

“The biggest takeaway from these Millennial events is that the frequent knocks against our generation about being apathetic towards American civics, or simply not being engaged is false. Young people care greatly about the issues of the day and how government affects them. In fact, they may be engaged more than ever before because of new mediums of communication,” Sen. Fattman said.

In the day’s first event, the Senators fielded questions from young people and responded via the social media site Twitter. Topics ranged from manufacturing and renewable energy to affordable housing and economic development.

Later in the day, the three Senators gathered again to host a roundtable discussion with leaders of the College Democrats of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Alliance of College Republicans.

Students shared their opinions on a variety of issues, including student debt loads, public service and civic engagement, along with ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft.

The Millennial Engagement Initiative, co-chaired by Senator Lesser and Senator Fattman, was announced earlier this month by Senate President Stan Rosenberg. The initiative aims to encourage more millennials to become involved in the legislative process.

Millennials, or those born after 1980, are now the largest and most diverse generation in the United States. While a large portion of millennials are heavily involved in community service, a recent Harvard University survey found that only seven percent of millennials reported having participated in government.

“Young people’s participation in government is vital to the success of our Commonwealth as a whole,” Sen. Lesser said. “The Senate’s Twitter Town Hall and College Student Roundtable are simple but important steps to help make sure they are part of the conversation.”