One-year later: Young Americans rate progress on priorities on anniversary of historic 2008 election

On November 4, 2008, young Americans voted in record numbers for candidates that promised to deliver change on issues such as health care, education, climate change, and gay rights. On the eve of the one-year anniversary of the 2008 election, national youth organizations, representing millions of 18-29 year olds, rated the progress made by the Obama Administration and Congress on key youth priorities, and discussed ongoing youth engagement in the political process.

Final verdicts were delivered Twitter-style in 140 characters or less. A longer progress report is available here.

“There are some pretty simple rules for politicians who want to engage young people and win their support: talk to them, explain your priorities, and involve them in the conversation,” said Heather Smith, President of Rock the Vote. “At the same time, we’ll continue to educate them about the governing process, explain how the government’s actions are relevant to their lives, and give young Americans clear and tangible actions to take.”

“Young Americans are committed to participating in reform by staying involved and holding our elected officials accountable,” said Erica Williams, Deputy Director of Campus Progress. “The legislative landscape shows a mixed bag: progress on some issues has been steady; on others, non-existent. A year after the election, America continues to face challenges including a failing economy, an ever-growing energy crisis, and critical legislation stalled by partisan bickering.”

The participating organizations, including Rock the Vote, Campus Progress, 80 Million Strong, Energy Action Coalition, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, National Youth Advocacy Coalition, United States Student Association, Y.I. Want Change delivered the following Twitter verdicts.

Health care: Must pass #hcr w/ #publicoption, subsidies, no discrim, no insurance in name only #ywic #1yrlater

Climate/Energy: Meaningful climate legislation is still possible in ’09 and we can lead in Copenhagen. #gametimeobama #1yrlater

Higher education: Obama/House put students over banks w/ #SAFRA, Senate must pass #SAFRA & Congress must pass #DREAM Act #1yrlater

Gay rights: Historic #LGBT legislation & policies=good start, but #ENDA, #DADT, lots more 4 Pres/Cong #1yrlater

Veterans: DC delivers VA reform, mental health, stop loss; need more on homeless, jobs, female health care #1yrlater

Immigration: Immigration reform undone, need pathway to citizenship & DREAM Act, civil rights struggle of our time #1yrlater

Jobs/economy: Youth unemployment nearly 2x nat’l avg, stimulus was start but need jobs bill for young #1yrlater

A complete report is available here. For more information, or to speak to spokespeople from the participating organizations, please contact Chrissy Faessen at 202-719-9941 / or Katie Andriulli at 202-481-8238 / kandriulli(at)

About Rock the Vote: Rock the Vote’s mission is to engage and build the political power of young people in order to achieve progressive change in our country. Rock the Vote uses music, popular culture and new technologies to engage and incite young people to register and vote in every election. And we give young people the tools to identify, learn about, and take action on the issues that affect their lives, and leverage their power in the political process. Rock the Vote is creative, effective, and controlled by nobody’s agenda but our own – we tell it like it is and pride ourselves on being a trusted source for information on politics. We empower the 45 million young people in America who want to step up, claim their voice in the political process, and change the way politics is done.

About Campus Progress: Campus Progress is the youth division of the Center for American Progress, a nonpartisan, nonprofit progressive organization. Through programs in activism, journalism, and events, Campus Progress helps young people make their voices heard now on issues that matter, and works with young leaders and organizations nationwide to build a strong, united progressive movement that can bring long-term positive change. Campus Progress runs a daily web magazine,; supports student publications on 50 campuses; supports local and national youth issue campaigns; and has held over 700 events and film screenings. For more information, please visit