Legislative Aid Interview Featuring Zach Silverman (CO)

Posted by Blake Wright on March 13, 2014 at 11:14 AM

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We are thrilled to announce a new blog segment, interviews with legislative aides! The goal of this project is to highlight how legislative aides from across the political spectrum support helping millennials succeed in politics. Keep a look out for new interviews!

Take a look at our interview with Zach Silverman, a legislative aide for congressman Rhonda Fields.

Alma Mater: University of Colorado at Boulder, Class of 2013

What would you encourage students to do that are considering a political career? The best advice I can offer is get involved as possible in your local government. Volunteer and intern as much as possible for your city councilmen, your state representatives/senators, the mayor, anything. Getting involved on a local level, will give you amazing networking opportunities as well as the chance to be a big fish in a little pond. Your work, and more importantly, your work ETHIC is much more noticed when you work for your local elected officials, either on their campaign, or in their official offices.

What do you think is the biggest issue the millennial generation will face? I think the biggest challenge millennials will face is student loan debt combined with diluted degrees, and eventually a break in the social security system. Student loan debt is piling on more and more and more and it simply doesn't end. It has already topped over $1 trillion. Students are taking on mountains of debt to go to achieve degrees that are becoming more and more diluted as more people receive Bachelor's degrees. Eventually, we're going to be at a point where a Bachelor's degree is as valuable as a high school diploma was ten years ago and people are going to be forced to attend graduate school (incurring even MORE debt) in order to achieve a degree just to put them on an equal playing field. It's going to create an even bigger disparity amongst those who have and who don't have. The second is our entitlement programs Social Security, and Medicare. Both are running out of money and we're just not adding enough to the work force to pay for it. I think every millennial should be concerned about whether Social Security and Medicare will still exist when we retire.

How can millennials address student loan debt and Social Security? By simply getting more involved and making sure their vote actually goes towards elected officials aimed at promoting legislation that will help curb the issues facing millennials. It's not just about supporting candidates that promote ideas that we believe in from a Democratic or Republican standpoint, but supporting candidates that promote ideas that we believe in as millennials. We need to engage our generation, and if we can prove to the apathetic portion of our generation that with enough engagement and participation, elected officials WILL listen to us, then the portion who are apathetic will become smaller and smaller. 

What strategies to you think millennials should try to get their voices heard in politics? The biggest obstacle that stands in the way of millennial engagement has to be the fact that we have no money to spend. The way people get their voices hears is through money. Organizations, no matter how altruistic or selfish, push their agenda on all levels of government through donating to campaigns, recruiting volunteers for said campaigns, or running their own campaign alongside (but of course not coordinating with) said campaign. Millennials have ZERO money to donate to campaigns or to organize themselves, so it's incredibly difficult to prove how valuable. The second biggest obstacle is a lack of voice. Our generation is consistently rejected from major news outlets such as Huffington Post, New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal, because we "don't have enough experience" or "we don't know what we're talking about." If these people sat down with a millennial who was interested in politics for 10 minutes, they would be completely blown away. We're always underestimated. This is actually why I'm creating an online political magazine for college students and young professionals so that they DO have a voice about the issues that they care about, and not just what's currently hot for the day or for the week. It's called D.U.C. Magazine and you can check it out at www.ducmagazine.com. Young people will always be too poor to donate, but never too poor to lend their opinion.

If you could get any policy passed to help millennials, what would it be? If I could pass one piece of legislation that would help millennials, it would definitely be legislation that would help decrease the cost of college, increase the amount of information about student loans, or help people that are currently in default of their student loans and need help rehabilitating them.