opinion

Future Now

An Academic, an Entrepreneur, and a Former Politician’s New Plan to Fix Our Broken Politics

It may sound like the setup to an old joke, but we have a plan—starting in Virginia this year—for electing the next generation of American leaders.

Voters are fed up. The dominance of corporate special interests and partisan bickering have created a political crisis. In every party and region of the country, people are looking for a new way forward.

As shocking as the 2016 election seemed, the truth is that candidate Trump’s promise to destroy the status quo, whatever the collateral consequences, suited the electorate’s mood. For three-and-a-half years leading to Election Day, Rasmussen Reports surveys showed that barely a third of voters believed the country was heading in the right direction.

On that, we couldn’t agree more.

The three of us come from different generations and professions—academia, startups, and politics—but we share a common diagnosis of our problems and a way out of the gridlock.

The research of Jeffrey Sachs, an economist at Columbia University who has been tracking sustainable development across the globe, points to numerous ways that the United States is falling behind other nations and to how it can regain its footing.

Adam Pritzker has founded two successful companies. He knows it takes clear targets, careful oversight, and measurable outcomes to drive success—the same elements still needed in many state legislatures.

And as a state senator, Daniel Squadron saw up close how broken the state legislative process is—and worked for years to make elected officials more accountable to their constituents and long-term interests.

Together, the three of us believe in a new kind of politics that focuses on clear goals and measures, a medium-term perspective, and results-oriented accountability to replace rampant partisanship, secretive corporate lobbying, and stalemated policy battles.

Today at the State Innovation Exchange Conference in Washington, D.C., we are launching two new organizations: Future Now and Future Now Action.

We will work to elect the next generation of American leaders to achieve America’s Goals, a blueprint for our nation’s renewal by the year 2030. With a focus on state legislatures, we will invest in candidates committed to standing up to special interests and achieving ambitious and time-bound goals covering seven priorities, including good jobs, affordable health care, investing in children, empowering people over special interests, equal opportunity, sustainable infrastructure, and clean air, water, and energy.

We believe that America’s Goals are just what most voters, and indeed most elected officials, want from their state government. But too often, corporate special interests punish politicians who focus on the common good and who buck the tide to actually get things done. Future Now will support those who are willing stand up and work toward shared goals backed by the voters.

We are starting in Virginia, where Future Now is proud to endorse a slate of 10 candidates for the House of Delegates who have committed to America’s Goals. We and our donor network have already contributed more than $160,000 to these candidates, and we are committed to seeing them through to victory in November.

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Our donors and our actions will always be completely public and transparent. Our aim will be to promote America’s Goals and elect politicians who will pursue them with vigor, talent, and integrity.

Virginia is just the starting point. We are going to take this model and expand it across the country, providing state legislators with support and resources to implement programs to achieve America’s Goals. Going forward, we’ll track state progress and follow the candidates closely—and hold them accountable when they fall short.

Over time, we believe that the big ideas behind America’s Goals, and our willingness to roll up our sleeves to give them momentum, will help to break the grip of special interests and destructive partisanship in politics across America.

Some might accuse us of looking beyond the current political fracas—because we are. If we want a better future for our children and our country, we had better aim high, think ahead, and start now.