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Leadership Crisis: Next Generation Lacks Political Ambition

WHO:   American University School of Public Affairs professor of government Jennifer Lawless and Loyola Marymount University (Los Angeles) professor of political science Richard Fox   

Moderated by CNN's John King

WHAT:   Reception and Book Signing: Running from Office: Why Young Americans are Turned Off to Politics , 6 p.m.Author Discussion Moderated by CNN's John King, begins at 6:30 p.m.

WHEN:   Thursday, June 18, 6-8 p.m.

WHERE:  Capitol Visitors Center, HVC 215 (Gabe Zimmerman Room)First Street NE, Washington, DC 20515

Contact: Media should RSVP to J. Paul Johnson, American University Communications, 202-885-5943 or via e-mail at jjohnson@american.edu.

BACKGROUND: There are more than 500,000 elective offices in the United States, many of which serve as stepping stones to higher office. However, only a mere 11 percent of the best and brightest young people in high school and college are willing to consider seeking elected office of any kind according to a new book Running from Office: Why Young Americans are Turned Off to Politics by American University School of Public Affairs professor of government Jennifer Lawless and Loyola Marymount University (Los Angeles) professor of political science Richard Fox. 

In fact, young people would rather do almost anything else rather than seek elected office. In one set of questions, professors Lawless and Fox presented students with four higher echelon jobs they found most appealing: business executive, lawyer, school principal, or member of Congress. Serving as a member of Congress came in dead last (just 13 percent of young people chose it). However, it placed first on the "least desirable list." 

"Young people are interested in saving the world and care about making their communities a better place. But they don't consider electoral politics a way to achieve those goals" says Lawless. 

Lawless and Fox offer five suggestions in Running from Office that could change young people's attitudes. But it will take money and motivation, combined with politicians serving as better role models, supporting innovative programs, and partnering with entrepreneurs, activists, journalists and teachers to combat the political ambition deficit.

Profs Lawless and Fox will discuss their research with CNN's John King on Capitol Hill.

-AU-

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