This Week at Veracity: Millennial Action Project and Politico’s What Works Summit

December 06, 2014

This week, partner and mayor Alex Torpey was in DC for the Millennial Action Project Summit, and Politico’s What Works summit, discussing how cities are incubators for civic innovation.

The Millennial Action Project (MAP) event, held on Capitol Hill, was co-hosted by Nexus, a community of young philanthropists working to fund projects and organizations that will address next generation issues. The day included talks from the two youngest members of Congress, Representative Tulsi Gabbard and Representative Aaron Shock, founding members of the bipartisan Future Caucus, and featured a range of other dynamic and inspiring speakers, from bipartisan congressional representatives, Senator Ted Cruz, human rights activists and more.

During the closing plenary session, Alex sat on a panel with other millennial leaders to discuss what it takes to inspire new generations to participate in our democratic system. Alex’s work on the Village President for a Day program in South Orange was discussed as a way to create a “trigger moment” in the hopes of motivating young people to get more active in their communities.

Award winning actress and renowned activist, Ashley Judd, who keynoted the closing plenary, also took note of the all-star panel of millennial leaders! 

At the Politico What Works summit, over a dozen mayors and other local leaders from across the nation discussed some of the very complex issues facing local communities, as well as the opportunities and advancements that are being made. Alex’s panel focused on civic innovation and technology, and while not every city wants or needs to be the next Silicon Valley, they all have something to gain from the ideas and tools coming out of the tech movement – from innovative public/private partnerships to installing gigabit internet that allows greater connectivity across the board, from businesses to consumers to government.



Alex spoke about how technology can be used by citizens to not only file complaints, but to create an open and transparent process that allows results to not only be delivered, but measured publicly with accountability institutionalized into the executive branch of government.

Along with his fellow panelists - Mayor Andy Berke of Chattanooga, TN, Mayor Helene Schneider of Santa Barbara and Brenna Berman, CIO of Chicago - he discussed the incredible innovation capacity at the local level. However, he made a point to note that that only goes so far if the federal government doesn’t step up to ensure affordable broadband internet access is available for every American and to preserve net neutrality.

Both events had a focus on the need for innovation and change - and that although there is partisan gridlock at the national level, there are incredible things happening in state and local governments. While the Millennial Action Project Summit focused more on how young people can get more involved in the communities, and how millennials can find a stronger way forward to tackle today’s issues, the Politico summit had a focus on highlighting the success stories of mayors and local leaders of all ages and political persuasions across the country - a narrative that we all agree deserves more attention.


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