Why Millennial Mayors Kill It at City Hall

Mayor Peter Buttigieg of South Bend addressing a crowd about DoT Safer Streets program. Buttigieg announced his candidacy for DNC chair in January 2017.
Image: Mayor Pete Buttigieg Facebook

Despite limited managerial experience, millennial mayors warrant examination for their skills and accomplishments.

A new article in Time Magazine wants you to meet the millennials taking over city halls because millennial mayors — whether it’s a growing trend or just natural succession — are on fleek local leaders.

Millennial Mayors: Growing Representation

“Young people have always rolled their eyes at the received wisdom of the olds, but now they’ve got numbers on their side. Millennials — born between 1980 and 2000 — overtook baby boomers as the largest segment of the U.S. population in 2015, yet they are led by one of the most geriatric federal governments in history,” wrote Charlotte Alter.

Time interviewed 11 millennial mayors, and numerous other millennial elected officials across the political spectrum from cities and small towns, all with varying backgrounds, according to the story. They also spoke with academics to discuss millennial traits, like pragmatism and social media savvy, that are a natural fit with local leadership and its unique ability to effect change.

Millennial Mayors & Skillsets

Balancing a lack of management experience that leads to novice moves, like initiating too many new projects on already loaded longtime staffers, millennial mayors bring strong skills to the table.

“No two were alike, but what they had in common — a preternatural ease with technology, an appetite for collaboration and impatience with reflexive partisanship — offer hints of a future they are eager to shape,” wrote Alter.

Time examined how millennials work because of achievements like:

  • Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., addressed 1,000 abandoned properties in 1,000 days
  • Mayor Aja Brown of Compton, Calif., has seen unemployment rates fall 10 percent by implementing local workforce requirements
  • Mayor Alex Morse of Holyoke, Mass., increased the city’s carbon-neutral power generation to 85 percent and it on  track to carbon neutrality by 2020
  • Mayor Michael Tubbs of Stockton, Calif., attracted Amazon to build a 600,000-sq.-ft. facility

Financial adversity and scarcity and austerity, and being shocked into a global awareness, means that our generation is primed and prepared for greatness,” said Mayor Svante Myrick of Ithaca, N.Y.

Dive into the story on Time.com.

Read our previous stories about millennial mayors and city staff:

How a Conn. Mayor Turned Deficit to Surplus in 3 Years

Why South Bend Mayor Peter Buttigieg Could Be DNC Chair

Mayors Making a Difference

‘Twinning’ Millennial Chiefs-of-Staff Bring Fresh Perspective to Penn. City Halls

About the author

Andrea Fox

Andrea Fox

Andrea Fox is Editor of EfficientGov.com and Senior Editor at Lexipol. She is based in Massachusetts.