Gen Y Bringing New Blood to Elected Offices

As the 2012 election cycle begins, candidates for U.S. Congress, as well as state legislatures across the nation, will be decided in primaries and/or caucuses over the first half of next year. The final winners will be determined in the general election on November 6. Many of those down ballot races will include Gen Y candidates, who will be taking the leap from voters to contenders for the first time.

Trent McKnight, a Gen Y candidate for the Texas House of Representatives, joins Keeping Up with Gen Y to talk about how the current political climate of sharp partisanship offers an opportunity for Gen Y to bring new blood to elected offices. He also discusses how getting involved in their local communities can help young people understand their connection to the political process.

More about Trent McKnight
Trent McKnight is running for the Texas House of Representatives in a district that spans rural areas of west and north Texas. He co-manages McKnight Ranches, a full-time cow-calf operation. He is founder of Rural Young Professionals as well as former director of Rural Texas Banks.

Trent has served as chairman of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Advisory Committee on Beginning Farmers, and as Agricultural Advisor to both the U.S. military in Iraq and the United Nations in Africa.

A graduate of Oklahoma State University with a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Economics, Trent received his Masters of Science in Comparative Politics from The London School of Economics.

About Tamara Bell

Tamara Bell is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Y Gen Out Loud, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that provides a platform for Generation Yto discuss national politics and public policy issues.

Tamara began her journalism career as a staff reporter for the Dallas Times Herald. A few years later, she moved to York, Pa., as a political reporter for the York Dispatch, covering local, state, and national government as well as writing investigative stories for the mid-sized daily newspaper.

A Texas girl at heart, Tamara returned to Dallas a year later to work as press relations director for the re-election campaign of U.S. Rep. John Bryant. The next year, she moved to Austin and the Texas Legislature, where she stayed for 15 years. While at the Legislature, Tamara worked for Democratic House members as Chief-of-Staff and Press Secretary, and as a Senior Policy Analyst for the Senate State Affairs Committee chaired by a Republicansenator.

In 1996, Tamara became co-owner of a political newsletter covering state issues and elections. As Editor-in-Chief, Tamara helped shape the weekly publication into a must-read for state officials, legislative aides, and lobbyists. More recently, Tamara wrote a regular column analyzing coverage by the Texas Capitol Press Corps for an online political publication. She also works as a lecturer in the Advertising Department at The University of Texasat Austin.

Tamara has also been a judge for the 2010 Bright Ideas Award given by the Texas Daily Newspaper Association, served as a panelist at the Society of Professional Journalists 2010 Region 8 Conference where the theme was How to Save Journalism, and has been a guest lecture for the Advertising Department’s Internship course, speaking about the jobs outlook for graduating seniors.

Tamara earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in Journalism from The University of Texas at Austin, and her B.A. in Journalism from Texas A&M University. She resides in Austin with her son, Jackson.

Tamara Bell is also the Host of Keeping Up with Gen Y on WomensRadio. Keeping Up with Gen Y offers discussions, interviews, and commentary about important issues of the day from the perspective of Generation Y (18-to 30-years-old). Aimed at all generations interested in learning about and inspiring young people, this show features professionals, experts, researchers, and members of Gen Y who share insights and experiences about the topics on the minds of today’s young adults.