Council tasked with increasing role of millennials in NH

Monitor staff
Saturday, September 23, 2017

A millennial advisory committee unveiled by Gov. Chris Sununu on Thursday is attracting the support of business groups, which praised the initiative as a step toward attracting and retaining the state’s youth. 

The Millennial Advisory Council, a 25-member body created by Sununu, a Republican, to devise policy recommendations geared toward younger populations, will have its first meeting Wednesday, according to a spokesman.

Members must be “millennials,”  born between 1980 and 2000 – a potential age range of 16 to 37 years old, according to an executive order Thursday. The members, all of whom will be appointed by the governor, will consist of  representatives from all 10 New Hampshire counties, including additional representatives for Manchester and Nashua.

The group, which will meet monthly, is tasked with producing an initial report by Dec. 1. Among its focuses: workplace retention and low representation of under 40-year-olds in the Legislature and local politics. 

“We have to ensure that New Hampshire remains the best place to live, work and raise a family for all Granite Staters,” Sununu said in a statement.

Chambers of commerce were quick to sign on.

Valerie Blake, vice president of the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce, said that her office had recommended two area candidates: Bryanna Marceau, events and communications assistant at the Chamber, and Daniel Gray, a portfolio manager at Eastern Bank in Concord. 

Both candidates have been active with community initiatives – Marceau is the chamber’s staff liaison for the Concord Young Professional’s Network, while Gray recently graduated from the chamber’s Leadership Greater Concord program, designed to foster civic awareness.

Blake said that she has not heard back from the governor’s office on whether the two were ultimately selected.

In Manchester, Mike Skelton, president and CEO of the city’s chamber of commerce, declined to name his office’s recommendations ahead of their formal appointments.

But he praised the idea behind the council, calling the millennial generation a central pillar of New Hampshire’s largest city. 

“I think the impact of young professionals and millennials cannot be understated,” he said. “If you look at our business base, we are a hub of technology and innovation, and many of the workers that are filling those jobs are young people – are millennials – and will continue to be for the foreseeable future.”

Skelton listed housing affordability, transportation and student debt as among the key areas he hopes the council will address.

And he said that overall, exposing the Legislature to a younger perspective could be a boon to future policy decisions.  

“If this council can help connect that desire by policy makers to grow jobs, with our state’s need to recruit young people, I think that in and of itself would be a success,” he said.

Those interested in applying for a position on the council can email a resume and cover letter to governorsununu@nh.gov.

(Ethan DeWitt can be reached at 369-3307, edewitt@cmonitor.com, or on Twitter at @edewittNH.)