Guest opinion: Millennial voters are ready to take the lead in Utah

This isn’t a revolt. This isn’t a revolution. This is the truth.

This is the truth for the majority of our state. If our elected officials are not willing to accept this truth, then it is time for them to step aside.

“Millennial” is a buzzword for most people. They hear it and think of hipsters working part-time, demanding avocado toast while living in their parents’ basements. People assume millennials are college students without life experience, whining at a world they’ve never really worked in. Let me clarify something – I am 33 years old, a homeowner, a mother, a Utahn, and a millenial.

We talk about our state being the youngest in the nation all the time. We don’t talk about the obvious disconnect between the vast majority of the people in our state and those elected to represent them. The average age of a Utah legislator is 59 years old. That is nearly a quarter of a century older than me. Someone who is approaching 60 has very different goals and concerns than someone like me. Someone who is 60 isn’t worried about getting their kids to school on time, making sure there is food on the table, or that the homework gets done. Someone who is 60 isn’t thinking about whether or not there will be economic opportunities for them in the future, whether we will have enough good jobs or adequately funded education so that our kids will want to stay in Utah when they graduate. Someone who is 60 likely has the time and luxury to not only think about retirement but to have been able to save for it. I don’t; because I am a millennial and millennials don’t get to have those same choices.

If our elected officials are not accurately addressing the issues that the majority of the state is facing, what are they doing? If our elected officials spend more time on political grandstanding, fighting against or supporting Presidents, but not taking care of our issues here at home, why are they in office? Things need to change.

Millenials will take the lead in Utah. Young people are turning out in record numbers. Whether or not you see us on Capitol Hill, working on issues important to us, or attending trainings from the Emerging Leadership Institute, we are the movers and the shakers of change. We want to be successful in our careers and raise our families, yet housing costs continue to rise, a college education can put us far into debt, and we’re stuck renting rather than buying a home. Incomes haven’t increased at the same rate as our cost of living, pulling the American Dream out of reach of many young families.

The traditional views of political parties have us feeling marginalized because we are a generation of inclusivity. We stand hand in hand with our fellow people and want to ensure we all have equal opportunities. We have seen what political polarization has done to our country, and frankly, we are tired of it. As a mother, I feel like it’s up to me to make the necessary changes for my children to ensure their future isn’t spent cleaning up messes from previous generations. Our legislature is out of touch with the needs of Utahns. It’s up to the voters to change this. Millennials will soon make up the largest group of voters. It is time for our current elected officials to step aside and let young people to take the lead.

Nikki Cunard is the Democratic nominee in HD45.