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Statewide Democratic Activists and Elected Officials to Run Millennial Candidates in Orange County


Melissa Fox (left) is flanked by Fiona Ma at a fundraiser in Irvine (c) 2010, TheLiberalOC


Generation Change Hosts Community Impact Training to Prepare Candidates and Organizers on Sat., Nov. 4 in Irvine


SACRAMENTO, CA (October 27, 2017) – A statewide coalition of young activists and Democratic elected officials including Board of Equalization Member Fiona Ma and Assembly Majority Leader Ian Calderon announced today they will target Orange County races in the 2018 election cycle. Generation Change is the first candidate incubator in California dedicated to preparing millennials to run for public office ( By electing younger Democrats to local office in Orange County, the organization hopes to build political power among OC millennials to impact policymaking, drive civic engagement and increase voter turnout.


Generation Change will host its first community impact training in Irvine on Saturday, November 4 from 9:30 a.m to 12:30 p.m. at Weedmaps Headquarters with Fiona Ma, Irvine City Councilwoman Melissa Fox, Centralia School Board Trustee Connor Traut and the Orange County Young Democrats. The training is designed to empower young people to amplify their voices and drive change in the Orange County community, including running for office. Participants can register at  


“Orange County is on the cusp of great change electorally and demographically. We want to ensure that as OC turns blue, young voices are represented in the process,” said Tanner Kelly, 24, co-founder and president of Generation Change. “Young people realize that in order to make real change, we have to step up to the plate. That’s why we’re working with grassroots organizers in Orange County to identify young candidates, connect them with the expertise and resources to create change in their community and provide them with seed money to win.”


The Public Policy Institute of California released a July 2017 report that found young voters are the single-largest driving factor behind poor voter turnout in California’s midterm elections. In the 2014 November general election, young people ages 18-24 turned out to vote at a rate of just 8.2%.


“A huge segment of the California electorate isn’t being heard,” said California Board of Equalization Member Fiona Ma, candidate for state treasurer and co-founder of Generation Change. “We need new strategies to energize our young people and empower them to enact real change. That’s why we’re taking steps now to give the next generation of Orange County’s leaders the tools they need to serve.”


There are currently no U.S. Senators under the age of 40. The average age in the U.S. House of Representatives is 58. In California, there are just 11 millennials serving in the state legislature.


“Young people bring a new perspective to government,” said Assembly Majority Leader Ian Calderon (D-Whittier), the first millennial elected to the California State Legislature and a Generation Change founding advisory board member. “Millennials today face rising student loan debt, higher housing costs and lower wages than ever before. We need more young voices involved in crafting modern policy solutions to our state’s evolving challenges.” 


Generation Change expects to release its inaugural list of endorsed candidates in Orange County later this month.


The organization is governed by a millennial Board of Directors and supported by a growing Advisory Board, including Board of Equalization Member Fiona Ma; Assembly Majority Leader Ian Calderon; State Senator Henry Stern; Assemblymember Marc Berman; Assemblymember Evan Low; Appointments Secretary for Governor Brown Mona Pasquil Rogers; Lemoore City Councilwoman Holly Andrade Blair; West Hollywood City Councilwoman Lindsey Horvath; Sacramento City Unified School Board President Jay Hansen; San Juan Unified School District Trustee Paula Villescaz; BART Board Member Lateefah Simon; Sacramento Municipal Utilities District Director Nancy Bui-Thompson; California Democratic Party Controller Dan Weitzman; and Equality California Managing Director Tony Hoang.


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