Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Senate president Stan Rosenberg continues to reach out to millennials

Jones Library/Flickr)
(Jones Library/Flickr)

It’s tough to believe it was nearly eight years ago when then-Senator Barack Obama’s groundbreaking presidential campaign taught us all what could be achieved when a political dream, coupled with digital innovation, energized and engaged millennials in the civic process.

For a long time, it seemed as though Beacon Hill never learned from the president’s success in that regard. In a commonwealth known for tech startups and a youthful population, our legislature, the General Court, had been startlingly slow to bring civic engagement online where millennials spend much (if not most) of their time.

But that was before Amherst’s Stan Rosenberg became president of the Massachusetts Senate last year. In a legislature known more for its insider politics than its transparency, Rosenberg is breathing new life into the Senate.

Millennials are embracing collaborative work environments and participatory solutions, which the Internet is making easier now than ever before. Rosenberg, recognizing this shift, is moving the Senate in the very same direction. By empowering his members, he is bringing this very millennial concept to the State House, calling it “Shared Leadership.”

More than simply shaking up leadership paradigms, he is embracing technology and seeking feedback from millennials. He opened the year with an interactive “Commonwealth Conversations” tour where voters across Massachusetts share their concerns and put forward ideas. The tour also featured a website which integrated social media and allowed testimony to be submitted online.

Rosenberg has held “Twitter Town Halls,” Reddit AMAs and Facebook Q&As – firsts in the legislature. New Senate rules now call for committee and floor votes to be promptly posted online. The Senate launched its own Twitter handle (@MA_Senate) to live tweet their debate and Rosenberg himself is on Instagram (@SenStanMA).

More than this, the Senate has used hundreds of infographics to explain what is happening on Beacon Hill at any given time. Just a few weeks ago, Rosenberg also announced free public WiFi for visitors to the State House.

Rosenberg should be commended for his work to energize millennials like myself. Now it’s up to us as young people to get involved. From lowering student loan interest rates to creating jobs, it’s vital for millennials to step up and tell our government what is truly important to us.

Rosenberg is asking the questions – it’s time for us to help provide the answers.

Michael J. Hout is the president of the College Democrats of the University of Massachusetts and can be reached at [email protected].

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  • Z

    Zac BearsJan 19, 2016 at 9:28 am

    I don’t know what you’ve been looking at, but by and large, MassDems is still unable to engage young people on a large scale, and Stan Rosenberg’s limited actions over the past year have not energized any young person who was not already involved with Democratic politics in Massachusetts. He wouldn’t even stand up for enough state funding for UMass Amherst, his alma mater and the economic engine of his Senate district. Why would young people stand up for him?