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Nex Gen Wisconsin

Logan Jaeger, left, a grad student at UW-La Crosse, fills out a survey for Kade Walker of NextGen Wisconsin. Walker was canvassing Riverside Park, talking to young voters.

NextGen America is on a mission to reach eligible voters throughout the country, and organizers are hitting the Coulee Region to push progressives to the polls toward.

The organization, which was founded by hedge-fund billionaire philanthropist and liberal activist Tom Steyer in 2013, initially supported environmental causes as NextGen Climate, and then expanded its focus to include affordable health care, LGBTQ rights, racial equality and immigration policy in response to decisions by the Trump administration.

NextGen Rising is funneling $32 million into outreach in 11 states, including $2.5 million in Wisconsin alone, with staff and volunteers hitting local colleges and universities to register voters for the November election and express support for U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin and Gov. Scott Walker’s Democratic Party opponent. The organization is not endorsing a primary candidate for governor.

Three staff members and dozens of volunteers in blue T-shirts will begin canvassing the city in the upcoming weeks, with efforts amping up during UW-La Crosse Welcome Week. NextGen expects to register more than 250,000 people for the fall election, targeting those age 18 to 35. Organizers themselves are all of college age or recent graduates, an approach Sean Manning, media manager for NextGen Wisconsin, says resonates with young voters.

“A lot of them feel like our elected officials are tokenizing them rather them empowering them when their campaigns address them,” Manning said. “Young people really do care. They’re not apathetic about the issues.”

NextGen funds will go toward paying staffers and hosting events and giveaways, meant to engage students, hear their concerns and remind them their votes count. During Thursday Hammock Save the Planet gatherings, students will discuss the issues that matter to them, and local organizer Kade Walker, who will oversee outreach at UW-L, Viterbo and Western, will recruit people to knock on doors, speak with voters and distribute pledge-to-vote cards. Organizers will be available to help students locate the documents they need to vote and direct them to their polling location, as well as bringing activities and treats to campus.

NextGen, which helped organize the in-state March for Our Lives tour and the Families Belong Together rallies, is in tune to the tuition concerns shared by many in their target demographic. The cost of higher education combined with the reduction in majors offered is the No. 1 issue expressed by students, according to Manning, with gun violence, Medicaid, equality and the family separation crisis also striking a chord.

“We’re going to fight tooth and nail for the issues that matter to them,” Walker said. “We’re here, and we’re going to be fighting the whole time. When believe when young people get involved, young people make big changes.”

NextGen’s approach is channelling the existing energy and passion of GenXers and millennials, the latter the most diverse and largest generation in history. A report released by the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program in January states that 44 percent of the nation’s 75 million millennials are minorities.

“Young people are going to be the difference makers in this election,” said Manning.

At the top of NextGen Wisconsin’s agenda is defeating Walker, reclaiming a Democratic majority and electing more young and diverse officials into office, and re-electing Baldwin, who cites college affordability, universal health coverage and gun control among her priorities.

“(Baldwin) is a candidate who is true to her beliefs and stands up for the young people,” Manning said. “Since she fought for us, we’re ready to fight for her.”

For more information, visit nextgenamerica.org.

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Emily Pyrek can be reached at emily.pyrek@lee.net.

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General assignment reporter

Emily Pyrek covers human interest stories, local events and anything involving dogs for the La Crosse Tribune. She is always interested in story ideas and can be contacted at emily.pyrek@lee.net.

(17) comments

Cassandra2

Big changes are going to come, and I think it will be driven by young people who have been completely scrooed over by the baby boomers who have left them with a society with no good jobs or way to make a decent middle class living. They been saddled with huge debt and a trashed environment. Now they'll gladly pull the plug on the generation that abandoned them.

Gambrinus

Under Obama, black incomes, wealth, and home ownership rates declined relative to those of whites. Under Obama, the 1%'s portion of the national wealth grew at a faster rate, relative to rest of the population, than even under Bush. Under Trump, black, Hispanics, women, and those without high school diplomas are at record high levels of employment. This is getting out of hand. It is necessary for Democratic billionaires like Tom Steyer to step in and help organize the Democratic Party's resistance to the general welfare and prosperity.

johnnybragatti

Inexperience fragile voters? Ya"ll are talking about : "Trump-Humpers" united, if you"re referring to the very typical down the road, whacked-out, mentally challenged Trump voter.
No matter what atrocity trump commits ,they will love him regardless.
Too funny.
Todays young folks ,of whom ,I am associated with many, are the greatest generation to be.
They are truly fantastic,smart,enterprising and not a one lives in his Mom"s basement.
They are wonderful to work with, fun to be around and have an employment ethnic that would rival any or all generations.
They"re also 90% Anti_Trump and by 2020, they will be the absolute largest voting,
in history.

gb506

"NextGen Wisconsin rallying gullible, inexperienced, emotionally fragile voters in La Crosse area" Fixed your headline for you. No need to thank me.

Buggs Raplin

And they'll next be marching to remove the Big Indian from Riverside Park, and the Tribune will give these gullibles all the support it can. No doubt Vian will get the story,or Tighe.

SEMN

No it should read: The younger generation of the dwindling white majority realize they are on the precipice of finally learning what it means to compromise, adapt, and coexist in an ethnically diverse country.

mocha1

So where are the protests about outside money influencing elections. All we hear from the left is Koch brothers, Koch brothers, but when a leftist billionaire uses his billions to drive his leftist agenda we get stories like this celebrating the movement.

Buggs Raplin

Typical Tribune and their liberal bias. What is the liberal agenda these days? Well, there's racism of course. That ties in with their support of 'undocumented' immigrants. Liberals have an aversion to the word 'illegal.' Then there's gun control, where they basically want to tear down the 2nd Amendment. Political correctness is a liberal priority with the goal of speech that doesn't offend them. Speech that does offend them is 'hate' speech and must not be tolerated. Finally, the liberals want to save the planet from carbon dioxide and the Koch Brothers, and Donald Trump, that fascist Nazi, for having the good sense to pull out of the Paris Accords. As a 'grace' note, the liberal mantra demands more money for education, even though the results of that education are rather pitiful.

Cassandra2

Chippy, if you hate the Tribune so much, you can always start your own newspaper. I'd be curious to see how many copies you sell or how many hits you get on-line. My guess it would be about 6, judging from the "following" you have on these forums.

Buggs Raplin

Grow up liberal crybaby

Cassandra2

So you're fine with dark money donors and even foreign governments laundering money through the NRA to undermine our elections, but god forbid a LIBERAL be allowed to spend his own money to advance the progressive cause! Mocha, please tell us why you are cheering the downfall of American democracy.

Buggs Raplin

So..Cassie, what about all those millions Putin sent to the Clinton Foundation, or the $500,000 Bill received for a speech in Russia. Jesus, talk about collusion

Cassandra2

What about all those claims that you make being thoroughly debunked already, Chippy? What about comparing apples and pineapples? What about your proven taste for conspiracy theories? What about, what about, what-aboutism!

johnnybragatti

Actually the Kochs are as right-wing-nutted as one can get. They were brought up by Nazi Nannies and a Nazi Daddy who created the John Birch Society, a Wisconsin group that is a fierce rival of the KuKluxKlan in mass hatred distribution....The Kochs have despised Trump since the get-go., though they are the richest of all Repubics anywhere.
You are thinking about George Soros,who YOU would call a "Libtard",
but he ain"t even a drop in the bucket, moneywise, in supporting Leftist Idealists.
Ya"ll got nothing to worry about., since they"re pouring $500 billion ,or so, in to Repubic mid-terms.,nationwide.

JanetteDean

Great to hear this! Our country's youngest generations—like all generations—deserve an inhabitable planet as well as all the safeguards and opportunities that will help ensure their safety, current quality of life and future opportunities. I applaud NextGen America and NextGen Wisconsin's important work to empower younger voters.

SEMN

Those under the age of 35 if they come out in large numbers in '18, '20 , and '22 there will be big changes in this country for the better but the older members on the right will not be happy.

johnnybragatti

Most all the people I work with are in that age bracket.
Most all the people I work with are highly Anti-Trump !!!
ALL the people I work with WILL be voting by 2020.
Bbbbbbig changes are coming to us all,
so we can get our country back from the Crime Family.

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