Beyond the BubbleDelaware


April 4, 2023

If you want new results, you have to try something different. Over the last two decades, our politics has been defined by partisanship and gridlock. It’s boosted the careers of some politicians in the short term, but that style doesn’t deliver results for real people.

Recently, we saw young leaders step up in Delaware in an attempt to deliver better results for their communities. On Tuesday, some of the youngest members of the General Assembly launched the Delaware Future Caucus — a bipartisan caucus within the state legislature to encourage young lawmakers to work across the aisle on issues impacting young Delawarean residents. The caucus announced its new presence with a press conference in the state’s Legislative Hall.

From left to right: Rep. Michael Smith, Sen. Marie Pinkney, Layla Zaidane, Sen. Sarah McBride, Sen. Kyle Evans Gay, and Rep. Bryan Shupe

The thirst for this kind of lawmaking in the statehouse was evident. The launch received multiple nods from the media and local outlets, and the legislators a part of the caucus were even more eager to get the launch off the ground. Senator Sarah McBride (D), Representative Michael F. Smith (R), Senator Kyle Evans Gay (D), and Representative Bryan Shupe (R) are the four young lawmakers set to co-chair the caucus in the state.

At the press conference, Sen. McBride (D) spoke eloquently on the importance of a new kind of leadership, “As we live in political bubbles more and more, it’s never been more important to have conversations across the divide. I believe that the only way for democracy to work… to persist… is for us to be able to have a shared conversation.”

Sharing conversations is what the Future Caucus model is all about. We believe the most effective lawmakers are the ones who work well with others. That’s why we create bipartisan groups in statehouses all across the country called “Future Caucuses” so that the young lawmakers — in state legislatures and in Congress — can collaborate and find common ground over issues impacting millennials, Gen Z, and future generations. We see listening, relationship-building, and trust as key factors getting real results.

The legislators agree. “As we look to people across the aisle, as we listen to people that maybe we wouldn’t have run into on a daily basis, we get to learn from their experiences and get to the best of what everybody brings to the table,” said Representative Bryan Shupe (R).

“[When collaborating across the aisle] you are able to create better policy and incorporate ideas that maybe weren’t the first to come to your mind, but might be in the front of someone else’s… When you stress-test your policies with people who might not agree with you 100%, you are inevitably going to get to a place where you have a better policy that is better able to serve a great number of people,” said Senator Kyle Evans Gay.

Although the Tuesday launch was the caucus’ first “official day,” the lawmakers have been hard at work advancing the mission for quite some time prior. Just last year, two of the co-chairs, Representative Mike Smith and Senator Sarah McBride, were able to pass paid family medical leave in their state. When talking about the experience of working across the aisle with his colleague, Rep. Smith said, “[Senator McBride] ran on passing paid family medical leave here in the state of Delaware. She did not need my vote to make that happen, but we were still able to make it a better bill by listening and learning from each other. I was happy to support her in that.”

From left to right: Layla Zaidane, Rep. Michael Smith, Sen. Sarah McBride, Sen. Kyle Evans Gay, and Rep. Bryan Shupe

After the press conference, the lawmakers participated in a panel conversation on topics ranging from legislation they were working on to the name of their first AOL address. The comradery and excitement for what was in store for the caucus was a breath of fresh air for community members in the audience.

“Young legislators bring a unique perspective to the table in tackling our state’s long term challenges that our generation will face in the decades to come. To win the future, we need a sense of urgency, creativity, and boldness, along with a willingness to challenge ourselves and one another through thoughtful dialogue across the political spectrum,” said Sen. Sarah McBride. “I’m incredibly proud to join with other young legislators of both parties in both chambers to form the Delaware Future Caucus so that, together, we can build a stronger, sustainable, and more prosperous tomorrow.”

These are the leaders who are strengthening our political system and directly addressing issues most important to young people in our country, in 2023 and beyond. In an era of hyperpartisanship, the Delaware Future Caucus will work together to break through partisan gridlock and find common-sense policy solutions that are popular, effective, and work for the people of Delaware.

The Future Caucus launch was in tandem with the Millennial Action Project’s National Week of Action — a week of action to catalyze and amplify the Future Caucuses’ efforts to bridge the political divide.

Watch the video of the caucus launch above!

Rep. Sara Jacobs


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