While Millennials became America’s largest voter bloc in 2016, we remain one of the most underrepresented groups in American politics.

We are the generation of social media. Constantly connected to the world us, we have been exposed to a wide-diversity of experiences from an early age. We are known to be more open-minded than generations before us. Not only are Millennials accepting of diversity, we value and encourage it. We like to push boundaries and go against the grain. We believe it is cool to be different. And while we may respect tradition, we prefer originality.

We are the generation of 9/11. As children, we watched America set aside its differences and unite in solidarity as our nation was under attack by Islamic extremists. Our childhood was shaped by the darkest days in modern American history, as our fellow Americans taught us the meaning of resilience. We still believe that America is the greatest nation in the world. We are proud to be Americans. We are unapologetic patriots.

We are the generation of Harry Potter. Ours is a generation that dreams big. We are imaginative, innovative and optimistic. We are the generation of social media. We grew up alongside technology during the Age of Technology.

We believe in endless possibilities. We believe wholeheartedly in the American Dream. We want to change the world and truly believe that we can. We are hopeful that we can still make the world a better place. And they say that the ones who are crazy enough to believe they can change the world… are the ones who do.

But Millennials are also becoming disillusioned. We remember how our parents struggled to support our families during the Great Recession. As teenagers, we worked part-time jobs during summer breaks in order to afford to fuel our cars as gas prices crept up to $3.00 or $4.00 per gallon. We were told by our parents’ generation that we had to go to college if we wanted to become successful, so we dug ourselves into student loan debt as the cost of tuition rose 4 times faster than inflation. Then soon after college graduation, we were hit by rising costs of health care under the Affordable Care Act. We don’t appreciate rising health care premiums, but we were grateful to stay on our parents’ policies until we turned 26.

Millennials have encountered a harsh reality since entering the real world. We have faced underemployment and limited opportunities in the job market. Four years (and an expensive diploma) later, we have been unable to find jobs in our chosen fields. As we struggle to make ends meet, we have been faced with burdensome student loan debt. Many of us can’t afford to support a family if we wanted to, so we delay getting married and hold off on having kids. Most of us cannot afford to buy a house. We are pressured by our parents’ generation to move out of our parents’ house and into our own, but the job market and economy make it increasingly difficult for us to do so.

For half our lives, American soldiers have been deployed in the Middle East during the War on Terror and Operation Iraqi Freedom. From the fall of al-Qaeda to the rise of ISIS, we have learned that some wars cannot be fought solely by force. We are fighting an ideological war against extreme fundamentalists. Islamic jihadists and extremists have declared war on America and there are battles still to come.

We are a generation scarred by war and violence. Nothing shocks us anymore. We are nearly de-sensitized to it too. In recent years, it seems that the news media is constantly reporting on horrifying mass shootings, violent riots, and acts of terrorism.  We are not blind to our current reality, but we fix our eyes on creating a brighter, safer future.

Washington has become a train wreck of partisanship and gridlock. We are wary of politicians. We are sick of misleading campaign rhetoric and empty promises. We have watched the bloated governmental bureaucracy create more problems than solutions. We are anxious about the ever-growing national debt that we will inherit.

We call on our leaders to deliver lasting results that will place our country on an upward trajectory. But as promises fall short, we realize that if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. Now we are standing up. It’s our time to speak up and help lead the country we stand to inherit.

Liberal policies have failed Millennials. But the Republican Party refuses to address the issues that Millennials care about most. Rather than uniting together and offering conservative solutions to millennial problems, Republicans are waging civil war over who is more “conservative”.

We’ve had enough. It’s time for Millennial Republicans to unite and combat the partisan gridlock in Washington. It’s time we replace the broken narrative of intolerance and uncompromising egoism within the Republican Party. It’s time we address the hypocrisy within the mainstream Republican platform and reevaluate our priorities.

We will remain silent no longer. This is our party too.

We are America’s future.

And this is the Millennial Ascent.