Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg is teaming up with the campaign manager for Congress’ youngest-ever member to launch a new group aiming to get young people elected to state legislatures and Congress.
The new group, Leaders We Deserve, will back people under the age of 30 running for state legislatures and people under the age of 35 running for the House of Representatives. Hogg, well-known for his activism with the gun safety group March for Our Lives, is leading the group alongside Kevin Lata, the campaign manager for Rep. Maxwell Frost (D-Fla.), the first member of Gen Z elected to Congress.
“We need to elect more young, fearless progressives to Congress, and especially our state legislatures,” the 23-year-old Hogg says in a video announcing the group. “So many times in our nation’s history, young people have led the vanguard of change. Join us as we build off that legacy and reshape the balance of power.”
“What we’re trying to do here is basically be an EMILY’s List for young people,” Hogg told HuffPost in an interview, referencing the group backing women who support abortion rights that often plays a queenmaker role in Democratic primaries. “We want to come in in the early days of a campaign, helping them get up and running.”
Leaders We Deserve will have a regular PAC to directly aid candidates and a super PAC to support candidates with advertising while not directly coordinating with them. The group plans to focus mostly on state legislatures in states seemingly in the process of flipping from red to blue, including Georgia, Arizona and Texas. It will also support a handful of congressional candidates in deep-blue districts like the one Frost triumphed in.
Frost is a member of the group’s advisory board alongside Reps. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), Lauren Underwood (D-Ill.), Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), Rob Menendez (D-N.J.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) Two high-profile state legislators ― Delaware State Sen. Sarah McBride, who is a heavy favorite to win that state’s congressional seat, and Tennesse State Rep. Justin Jones, who recently won back his seat in the state legislature after state Republicans expelled him from the legislature following a gun control protest earlier this year.
Hogg and Lata took pains to emphasize the group is not aiming to oust incumbent Democrats and isn’t inherently opposed to older people remaining in office. While millennials and Generation Z will make up 48% of the potential electorate in 2024, just 32 of Congress’ 535 members are under the age of 40.
“This is not about being against older people by any means,” Hogg said. “This is about creating a cross-generational coalition.”
He noted the Baby Boomer generation was inspired by their upbringing to enact the earliest environmental protection laws and arms control treaties in a way similar to how millennials and Gen Zers are inspired to act on climate and gun control.
“When older generations went through nuclear bomb drills, they went on to pass the largest arms reduction treaties in history,” Hogg said. “I don’t think it’s dissimilar to what young people are going through with school shooter drills. I think we need to have people in office who understand the anxiety of not knowing if you’re going to survive math class.”