Politics

Patrick Murphy Talkin’ ’Bout His Generation

Former congressman to begin Georgetown fellowship this fall

Former Florida Rep. Patrick Murphy, shown here in 2016, was 29 when he was first elected to the House in 2012. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

One of the first millennials elected to Congress will head to Georgetown University this fall to help students understand political issues unique to their generation. 

As a fellow with the Institute of Politics and Public Service at Georgetown’s McCourt School of Public Policy, Former Rep. Patrick Murphy, 34, will lead discussions on how government must adjust to accommodate the so-called “gig” economy, how political careers have changed in the age of social media, and how an anticipated flood of millennial voters could upend norms in Washington, among other issues. 

“There is a huge void on these issues,” Murphy said. “Pretty soon, [millennials] will be the biggest voting bloc, yet very few of their concerns are being addressed in Washington, D.C.”

Murphy was 29 when first elected and was the youngest member of his 2012 freshman class. That places him squarely within a generation that researchers predict will have the biggest impact on American politics and culture of any generation since at least the Baby Boomers.

Millennials, born roughly between 1982 and 2000, number about 80 million and are the largest age cohort in American history. But their influence at the voting booth has so far lagged behind older generations.

They cast only 25 percent of the votes in November, according to the Pew Research Center. And election turnout among millennials is expected to drop by more than half in 2018.

They are also underrepresented in Congress, where Baby Boomers outnumber them 50-1, according to a recent Bloomberg report. 

But with millennial numbers not projected to peak for at least 20 years, thanks to immigration, they are expected to continue accumulating electoral power and cultural influence.

Mo Elleithee, executive director of the fellowship program, said Murphy is well-placed to help students understand the impacts of the population shift.

“He is able to bring to the discussion that millennial perspective and to talk to students about how the issues that are facing millennials are playing out in Washington, or how they may be being ignored in Washington,” Elleithee said.

Murphy is one of five political leaders who will be leading discussions at the university this summer, part of a program that was started in 2015, Elleithee said. He will also touch upon other areas of his expertise from his time in Congress, including terrorism, intelligence-gathering, and political partisanship. He was a member of the House Intelligence Committee. 

Murphy served in Congress until 2017, after he lost a Senate race to Republican Marco Rubio. He said he has been working in real estate and construction in Florida but would not rule out a future run for public office. 

Murphy also announced Thursday that this fall he will be joining former Rep. David Jolly, a Republican who also ran for Rubio’s Senate seat in 2016, for a series of Florida town halls focused on gridlock in Washington. 

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