More than 400 young people from across the country will descend on Capitol Hill Tuesday to hear how Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, actress Ashley Judd and other lawmakers will address issues relating to the so-called millennial generation.
"We wanted to send a strong message that bipartisanship for millennials is not reserved for the centrists or for the moderates ... [It] also includes those on the far left and the far right," Steven Olikara, president of the Millennial Action Project, said in a phone interview. "And it also reflects the strength of this movement to bring unlikely partners together in service of future generations."
The Millennial Action Project is hosting the Congressional Summit on Next Generation Leadership, along with Nexus, a network of young philanthropists, and Children Uniting Nations, a nonprofit in Los Angeles. The hundreds of students, philanthropists, and entrepreneurs will pack into the Capitol Visitor Center's Congressional Auditorium Tuesday morning for the first half of the day-long summit. They will discuss issues related to the media, human trafficking and forming youth movements. The morning will also include a question and answer session with Cruz, who will likely be asked about similar issues as well as immigration, education and climate change.
"Sen. Ted Cruz, although being a symbol in the national media for conflict, has sponsored bipartisan legislation with [Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.] on military sexual assault issues," Olikara noted. "The core value that this generation can bring is pragmatism. … If there are good ideas that Sen. Cruz or others are bringing, we ought to bring them to the table."
Olikara also said some may view Cruz as a surprising choice for a summit focused on forging bipartisan bonds, but bringing people from all sides of the political spectrum together was one of the summit's goals.
“I think most people would think Sen. Ted Cruz is the last speaker you’d expect at our conference and that is exactly the point," said Olikara. "That we can bring such an ideologically disparate group to the table.”
Cruz will not be the only lawmaker addressing the millennials Tuesday. Reps. John Delaney, D-Md., and Todd Young, R-Ind., will discuss public-private partnerships. Congressional Future Caucus Co-Chairs, Reps. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, and Aaron Schock, R-Ill., will discuss "Congress and the Millennial Generation."
After lunch, roughly 200 of the participants will remain on the Hill to participate in breakout sessions in the Cannon and Longworth House Office Buildings. The sessions will be focused on issues including social impact investing, human trafficking, gun safety, women in philanthropy, energy policy and education reform. Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y., will participate in a discussion titled End Slavery Now: Bridging the Divide Between Government and Civil Society.
After the breakout sessions, participants will come together to learn the results of Giving Tuesday , a global philanthropy day. Then Judd, who at one time was mentioned as a 2014 opponent against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., will address the participants about women's role as future leaders.
"What conference has everyone from Sen. Ted Cruz to the actress Ashley Judd coming to speak?" Olikara asked. "I just think that’s unique and speaks to the strength of our work.”
Related: Congressional Future Caucus Promotes 'Giving Tuesday' Roll Call Results Map: Results and District Profiles for Every Seat Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.