Months after liberal billionaire George Soros invested over $1.6 million in the Philadelphia DA’s race, wealthy California activist Tom Steyer is investing time and money in Pennsylvania, hoping to energize young voters for next year’s elections.
Steyer made a fortune running a hedge fund, but for the past five years he’s devoted time and money to Next Gen Climate, an organization that supports candidates who address climate change.This year, Steyer has committed $7.5 million to a campaign called NextGen Rising aimed at getting millennial voters registered and engaged in eight swing states for the 2018 elections.
He making personal visits to talk to activists in Pennsylvania. He said in a phone interview it’s important to get beyond big four year colleges and large cities to connect with young people”When we do that, the first four places that we’ve chosen are Reading, Allentown, Lancaster and Bethlehem,” Steyer said.
Steyer said there are more millennials than baby-boomers, but they aren’t exercising their clout at the ballot box.
“This is the group of people who are least likely to vote. This is also the largest group of people,” Steyer said. “This is a group of people who, if we’re going to have a vibrant and just democracy, have got to participate in a real way.”
John Micek of PennLive reported on Steyer’s visit to a coffee house in York, and Steyer also met with activists in Lancaster.
He hopes to build a grass roots, social media and door-to-door effort that taps into local issues and gets more young people determined to vote next year.
He said doing that effectively relies on hard work, and a positive message, such as the promise of jobs from clean energy investment, and health benefits from fighting pollution and climate change.”It’s important that people understand not just that we think what’s coming from the Republicans and Donald Trump is desperately wrong,” Steyer said, “but there are good things we stand for, and it’s that positive vision that we really care about, not just being anti-Trump.”