Kit Carson Electric Cooperative gathered youth of the community Tuesday for the first ever Taos Millennial Group meeting Tuesday (Nov. 14).
More than 20 people turned out at the co-op for a focus group meeting held by members of the millennial generation in Taos. The meeting covered topics from activities in Taos, affordable housing and the economic future of Taos County as a whole. Several in attendance had come in from Questa and other reaches of the county to voice their concerns and opinions from a population largely absent from major town and county discussions.
"It's our job as millennials to step up in the community," said KCEC Public Relations Coordinator Michael Santistevan. "Don't be afraid to fail."
After only a short time to promote the meeting, Santistevan said the group plans to move forward with meetings in the future and hopefully build a select group of representatives to give a more lasting and ubiquitous millennial presence at events such as council and commission meetings and the Strong At Heart initiative. During the meeting, Taos County residents said millennials are an often overlooked demographic where such meetings are concerned.
Santistevan asked the group to answer, "What do you expect the community to be?" and received answers ranging from "more restaurants" to better childcare and activities for children. Several in the meeting were also concerned about the area's need to lean towards more tourist industries, which could fail if a bad weather year prevented snow on the mountains.
"All we're continuing to do is invest in the tourism and service industry," said Taos Councilman Darien Fernández, who is running for mayor, during the meeting. "We need more than that if we're going to keep our people here."
Millennials, whose demographics include adults currently between the ages of 18 to 34 years old, are being encouraged by the co-op to get out into the community and make their voices heard with meetings like this. Public officials from Taos, Questa and other areas were present at the meeting and also encouraged those in the room to try and make it out to the meetings and voice their concerns to the larger Taos County area.
The Taos Millennial Group will meet again from 1 to 3 p.m. on Thursday, (Dec. 14), at the KCEC board room to have their second meeting where the group will discuss their ideas on moving forward and what issues to tackle first. Each attendee at the meeting was encouraged, as homework, to bring a friend to the next meeting to grow the size of the group.