Hannah McAnespie
By Hannah McAnespie on January 24, 2024

Empowering Youth Voices- Up Next NY's Impact on Local Politics

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“Up Next New York” may sound like the newest New York morning talk show, but this newly found PAC is awakening so much more. Built by two Gen Z trailblazers, Up Next New York is Brooklyn’s newest political action committee (PAC) with one mission: to elect progressive Gen Z candidates into New York federal and state politics.   

Sadia Kauser, the PAC’s co-founder, began her political journey interning for a New York City Assembly Member. In this role, she saw firsthand the disconnect between Gen Z and their local politicians. She knew politicians could better interact and invest in their constituents if they truly understood the challenges facing today’s young people.

Her government experience inspired her to fight for engagement in government and to close the gap between traditional representatives and the pulse of today’s youth. To continue her mission of representation to new audiences, Sadia is attending law school to become a proactive advocate for those underrepresented (yes, while running a PAC!).  

Up Next New York’s other co-founder, Emmitt Sklar’s story was similar. Right out of college, he worked at his local City Council to rectify the dire condition of public housing. He recalled this experience as “opening his eyes to the importance of local government.” Emmitt’s positive local government experience is a motivator in engaging more Gen Z members to take the wheel. 

While driven by their experiences in politics, it’s not easy running a PAC straight out of college. The UP Next NY co-founders juggle full-time jobs while trying to fundraise and navigate a political landscape disillusioned with traditional norms. 

However, Sadia and Emmitt aren’t easily deterred. Already in the early days of the PAC, one of Up Next’s interns received the first $100 recurring donation. "This was the moment where we knew this could work and that people care," Sadia recalled. "Getting that first donation made it feel real - like we are creating something truly impactful." 

The team’s Inspiration also stems from envisioning growth and their goals to elect the first Gen Z member of the State Senate and endorsing candidates from all over like Claire Cousin in Hudson Valley. With plans of going public with endorsements in the coming month, they aim to redefine politics by channeling energy toward the election of representatives who resonate with the current generation.

Gen Z is taking the political industry by storm and Emmitt and Sadia are leading the way in New York. Keep up with Up Next New York as they endorse more progressive members for the New York City Council in 2025 — a race they believe will be competitive and exciting for New York City! 

Big thanks to Sadia and Emmitt for sitting down with me to chat — follow the latest with Up Next NY here!

 

Published by Hannah McAnespie January 24, 2024
Hannah McAnespie