Getting the Millennial vote
Thursday, Aug. 18, marked the the 96th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote. Almost a century after women were finally given a voice to decide their representation, women are not only voting – they are boldly leading.
New Hampshire has a modern history of embracing women leaders, but on a statewide level, women occupy just under 21 percent of elected offices while making up more than half of the population.
Underrepresentation on all levels of government has meant that issues like equal pay, reproductive rights, paid family leave and domestic violence are not adequately addressed, and antiquated views of gender roles too often dictate the policy modern women live under.
That’s why I am running for state representative out of Ward 4 in Nashua.
I am a millennial; I was born and raised in Nashua, currently, I am a medic in the Army Reserve and a student at the University of New Hampshire, where I am studying biology with a concentration in pre-med.
My political involvement started at UNH, where I became a fellow at NextGen Climate New Hampshire, an environmental advocacy organization that is a driving force encouraging political engagement on college campuses.
I saw a lot of students around the state who were interested in politics, and I wanted to take a more active role in representing them and cultivating collective action on the issues we care about.
Running for state representative seemed like a good opportunity to do just that.
In this election, there is just too much at stake for young women – in New Hampshire, decisions are made by a state Legislature that has an average age of 66 and is 70 percent male.
We have the power to change that – to defend the progress we have made and move the bar a little more on issues like climate change, women’s reproductive rights, transitioning to clean energy, equal pay for equal work and economic justice.
I hear pundits say millennials "don’t care" about the possibility of the first woman president, that we are too far removed from the era when there was a glass ceiling a mile above women’s heads.
They are wrong.
My great-grandmother didn’t have the right to vote – now I am running for office in the same year I will vote for our first female president.
The progress that my own story represents is astounding.
But to keep us moving forward, young people like myself need to be invested at all levels of government.
Up and down the ballot, there is a great opportunity to make progress, and it is our responsibility to shape our community by showing up at the polls. Or we will be left out.
Amelia Keane is a University of New Hampshire student and a state representative candidate for Nashua’s Ward 4.