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It would be hard to criticize anyone who thought freshman Rep. Blake Moore was younger than his actual age. He has a bit of a baby face for a man a few months shy of his 41st birthday.
That’s “over the hill” in some circles, but he’s quite young for his new job. Let’s just say, this nation’s senators and representatives skew on the older side.
So when the Congressional Future Caucus, aimed at millennials, was looking for a Republican co-chair, it’s not too surprising that the group turned to Utah’s new 1st District representative.
But is he a millennial?
That’s a tough one. Born on June 22, 1980, Moore is among those who fall into a gap. Some consider these people to be the last of Generation X or the first millennials. Many in this group feel a bit torn, and some try to come up with alternative names, pushing things like Xennial or Oregon Trail Generation, a reference to a popular video game of the time.
“We just ran with it, and we didn’t ask questions,” Moore said about his new position. “When you can straddle a couple of generations, I think that’s important.”
The Millennial Action Project is a nonprofit that works with young leaders to lower the partisan tension in Washington. The group’s board includes former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman. The nonprofit’s key project is the Congressional Future Caucus.
Moore recently was named its Republican leader. On the Democratic side, it’s Rep. Sara Jacobs from California. She’s 32. A millennial, totally.
The rest of the caucus members have yet to be named.
The age of Congress
At 40, Moore is younger than all but 35 House members and the only senator younger than him is the recently elected Sen. Jon Ossoff, D-Ga. He is 34.
The average age in Congress is 59, according to research by the news organization FiscalNote.
Moore is Utah’s youngest member by a significant margin. His House colleagues include Reps. John Curtis and Chris Stewart, who are both 60, and a fellow freshman, Rep. Burgess Owens, who is 69.
In the Senate, there’s Sen. Mitt Romney, who is 74, or what he likes to describe as a bit “long in the tooth.” Still, there are 15 senators older than he is. Utah’s senior senator is Mike Lee, who at age 49 is the 11th youngest out of the 100 senators.
“Forty is definitely not too young to serve in this role,” Moore said, noting that former House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin first took office at age 29. The Constitution says House members must be at least 25.
Moore came into office after spending years as a foreign service officer in Asia and as a management adviser at the Cicero consulting firm in Salt Lake City. He wants to be seen as a lawmaker who gets things done, and he sees this caucus as a way to accomplish that goal.
“To do that, you have to have bipartisan relationships,” he said. “I think this is just a way to recognize that potential. It’s necessary to get legislation done. It’s necessary for Congress to work. And so, I was thrilled that they reached out to us.”
These are early days in Moore’s congressional career. He took the oath in January. He recently sponsored his first stand-alone legislation, which seeks to use drones and other technology to support efforts to revive forests. And he broke new ground, becoming the first lawmaker to request a Capitol parking permit for his Vespa, far from the standard mode of transportation for a sitting member of Congress.
The Future Caucus is still recruiting members, and Moore has yet to sit down with his co-chair, though the two know each other from their work on the House Armed Services Committee.
Jacobs named the economy and foreign policy as places where “a young, bipartisan cohort in Congress” can make a difference.
Moore said he’d like to see the caucus find ways to address the nation’s growing national debt and identify ways to help workers thrive in a changing economy. He said the pandemic is but one factor in shifting the type of job opportunities available. Some industries are thriving while others are seeing persistent declines.
“We need to be able to reskill or upskill or educate our workforce,” he said.
He better get started. The Congressional Future Caucus includes only lawmakers who are 45 or younger. The clock is ticking.