Why Won’t Young People Run For Office?, Leading In Frac Sand, Bills Left On The Table

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Rob Ferrett and Veronica Rueckert discuss why young people aren’t running for office in the United States. Then they check in on Wisconsin’s role in the national frac sand boom and talk about what bills are being left on the table during the Wisconsin legislature’s special session.

Featured in this Show

  • Younger People Don’t Want To Run For Office, Study Says

    A new study finds that young Americans aren’t interested in running for political office — and that has the report’s authors worried about the future of representative government.

    In a survey of more than 4,000 college and high-school students, only 11 percent showed any interest in running for office. A substantial majority placed elected offices at the bottom end of their job preferences, researchers said.

    Report co-author Jennifer Lawless, of American University, said youth are turned away by what they see in today’s national political scene.

    “They look around and they don’t like politicians. They don’t see effective policies, they see gridlock, they see hyper-partisanship and a lot of bickering,” Lawless said.

    Lawless said she worries about the future of U.S. politics, with more than 500,000 elected positions to fill.

    “The health of democracy is predicated on the fact that good, qualified people will run for these positions and electoral competition will hold them accountable. So, if the best and the brightest are not interested in pursuing this in the future, it really questions whether we’re going to have the high-quality elected officials we need to continue to move the country in the right direction,” she said.

    Kelly Crombie, the mayor of Columbus, Wis., was elected at age 28, and said he knew as early as high school that he was interested in running for office some day. He said he encourages younger Wisconsinites to explore the idea of running for local office.

    “There’s no harm in putting your name onto the ballot. Win or lose, I think it’s a great opportunity to participate in democracy,” Crombie said.

    Lawless said teachers, professors and the media could help by highlighting the ways elected officials at all levels are successful at creating change, and demonstrating to students that elected office is one way to make a difference in the world.

    “If we can get them at least thinking about that, some of them will run, some of them will win, and some of them, I think, will become very successful and potentially change the overall perception,” she said.

  • Why Young People Don't Want To Run For Office

    According to a report out this week, running for office is not on the agenda for most young people. A co-author of the study tells us why young adults don’t want to seek elected office, and what that means for the future of American government.

  • National Frac Sand Boom Puts Wisconsin at Leading Edge

    The Wall Street Journal has likened Wisconsin to “a Saudi Arabia in Silica.” Today, we hear how Wisconsin’s frac sand has put the state at the leading edge of a domestic oil boom, and find out what it means for Wisconsin’s economy and the environment.

  • What The Legislature's Special Session Is Missing

    A guest from the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism examines some of the bills that have been introduced but are waiting to be passed in the Wisconsin state legislature.

Episode Credits

  • Rob Ferrett Host
  • Veronica Rueckert Host
  • Jennifer Lawless Guest
  • Kristin Jones Guest
  • Bill Lueders Guest
  • Rob Ferrett Interviewer
  • Amanda Magnus Producer