January Millennial of the Month: Ashley Scott

January 11, 2018

To kick off 2018, MAP’s revamping our Medium space to amplify the voices of the most diverse and largest generation: millennials. Join us…

January Millennial of the Month: Ashley ScottTo kick off 2018, MAP’s revamping our Medium space to amplify the voices of the most diverse and largest generation: millennials. Join us as we share important issues that impact young Americans and highlight noteworthy millennial movers and shakers.This month, we’re featuring our Young Leaders Council member Ashley Scott as MAP’s millennial of the month. Not only is she a leader in her industry, she also works on various levels—local, state, and national—to advocate for youth engagement in the political process. Check out our interview with Ashley below:Millennial Action Project: Tell us a bit about yourself — what do you do and how did you first get involved with Millennial Action Project?Ashley Scott: Although I’ve become an east coaster while living in D.C., my roots are deeply southern. I’m a native of Dallas, TX, and my family is from the bayou state of Louisiana. Seven years ago, I relocated to D.C. to pursue a career with Congress in the U.S. Senate.I’m currently a consultant for a technology firm that provides technology solutions for primarily federal government agencies, like the Department of Defense. For our Department of Defense client, I’ve led and managed the agency’s legislative priorities and engagements with Congress. We focused on helping small businesses obtain contracts and do business with the Department, especially minority businesses, women owned, and veteran owned. Last year, I created a new opportunity for the firm to expand outside of the government space and I landed our first commercial contract, which led to a national public-private partnership. We were tasked with helping cities and communities leverage their data and technology to solve local challenges facing boys and young men of color — an initiative created by President Barack Obama and a motivating factor to my involvement.The common thread in all my work and projects is my aspiration to provide a voice for those that are underserved and underrepresented. This is a core reason for my involvement with MAP. MAP represented everything I had been doing in my own life regarding getting young people involved in all sectors of politics and proving that your voice and ideas matter, regardless of your age. In my involvement with MAP, I was able to introduce state legislators in Louisiana to the MAP team, which lead to the launch of the Louisiana State Future Caucus last year.MAP: How did you first become involved in the political process?AS: I became involved in politics when my grandfather ran for local office. I was four years old and was in charge of handing out campaign stickers and buttons. From there, I was hooked, and you could catch me lying in front of the TV, every presidential election year, watching the national conventions. To this day, I still love hearing the roll call votes of each state. Fast forward to my early 20s and I actually had the opportunity to attend the 2008 Democratic Convention, as a delegate, casting my ballot to be included in the roll call vote.While working for the Louisiana State Legislature, I became very involved with the 2008 campaign of then-Senator Barack Obama. Being engaged in the election process has always been very important to me. I believed (and still do) that every citizen should be actively involved in some shape or form. As a young person, I recognized that youth, especially those of color, had historically been ignored by both political parties during presidential elections. Because of those reasons, I decided to run for an At-Large Delegate seat for the Democratic National Convention. I ended up winning a delegate seat and making history by becoming the youngest Louisiana delegate. My experience as the state’s youngest delegate gave me an opportunity to motivate my peers across the state, explain the significance of participating in the process and why their votes were essential.MAP: What’s one way young people can become engaged?AS: There’s a crazy number — like over 80,000 — of elected offices available in the United States, so the easiest way to engage is to volunteer for a campaign. I often get this question from moms looking to get their girls involved. On weekends, I teach political camps for girls across the country that empowers them and informs them of the political process and about careers in policy and advocacy. I always discuss how every campaign, regardless of size, is looking for help. It’s a great way to get your feet wet, contribute, and learn the process.MAP: What do you think is the most important issue affecting millennials?AS: OMG, definitely student loan debt! When I hear this question I automatically think about the Kanye West song from his album “College Dropout.” (I’m obviously dating myself to be an older millennial)The lyrics say, “You get that Associate Degree, then you get your Bachelor’s, then you get your Master’s, then you get your Master’s Masters, then you get your Doctorate… Everybody says hey, you’re not working, you’re not making any money, you say but look at my degrees, but I’m smart, I’m so smart, and I’m in school, and I’m spending mine to be smart. You know why? Because when I die, buddy, you know what’s going to keep me warm, that’s right, those degrees.”It’s crazy that the song debuted in 2004 and I’m sure when I heard it, I was like, “Oh that’s just crazy Kanye being Kanye.” However, it has so much truth!Student debt in the U.S. is now the second largest class of debt, above credit cards. Borrowers in the U.S. collectively hold an outstanding student loan debt totaling $1.41 trillion. 60 percent of Americans graduate college with student debt, and, on average, each borrower owes $28,400. Many life milestones are now out of millennials’ reach — marriage, a secure job, home ownership (or even a stable rental) due to high student-loan debt and low employment rates.MAP: What does bipartisanship mean to you?AS: To me, bipartisanship means compromise, search for common ground, and the fundamental way a bill should become law.MAP: What’s one example of bipartisanship that you admire?AS: One example of bipartisanship at its finest was when I worked on Capitol Hill for the U.S. Senate. My former boss Senator Mary Landrieu, a Democrat from Louisiana, partnered with Senator Richard Shelby, a Republican from Alabama, to pass the RESTORE Act. The RESTORE Act was in response to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill which left the environment, tourism, and fishing industries of the Gulf Coast states severely damaged. The RESTORE Act was a tremendous victory for the Gulf Coast states and provided significant funding towards recovery and restoration. It also showed what can happen when Congress chooses people over politics.

By Millennial Action Project on January 11, 2018.

Rep. Sara Jacobs


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