about the YEO network
The YEO Network, a nonpartisan program of People For the American Way Foundation, is the first and only national initiative to provide a network of support to the newest generation of progressive leaders at every level of elected office. The Network was founded in 2005 with the mission to unite and support elected leaders ages 35 and under who share a passion for building communities that reflect values of freedom, fairness, and opportunity for all. Since then, the Network has grown to include more than 1,300 elected officials across the country in offices ranging from local school boards to the United States Congress.
The Network, which is committed to being “of, by, and for” young electeds, is unique in addressing self-identified needs and using a holistic and participatory model of leadership development. We provide cutting edge programming, investing in the full pipeline of progressive leadership and building sustained relationships with our members. We provide the resources young elected officials need to effectively impact policy, foster their own development and professional growth, and elevate their leadership in the broader progressive movement.
We provide our members with access to a nationwide network, policy resources and support, and continued leadership development. We empower our members to transform their political vision into progressive action, both individually and collectively.
The YEO Network serves to connect the progressive agenda at community levels across the country. Our purpose is to create an enduring pipeline of courageous and visionary leaders to change the world.
about the YEOs
Young elected officials (YEOs) between the ages of 18 and 35 represent a small percentage of all elected leaders in the United States, but many are embarking on long careers of public service: over half of all members of Congress and U.S. Presidents were first elected to office before the age of 35. Young elected officials play an important role in shaping the public discourse and the policy agenda of the country and control billions of dollars administered by local, state, and federal governments.
Young elected officials represent the changing face of leadership in our country. Many have overcome great odds and blazed new trails to become progressive office holders, and many continue to overcome new challenges as they work to help their communities. The Network provides the space for meaningful peer support and exchange, as well as access to the best resources and services to benefit the work of our members.
Our Network has grown to include more than 1,300 members from all 50 states and the District of Columbia who share our progressive values regardless of party affiliation. Alumni of our Network have gone on to serve in higher office, government agencies, and Presidential cabinet posts.
Our YEOs reflect the communities they serve; we celebrate the broad diversity of our Network as well as the genuine sense of solidarity our members share. Our Network was founded by young elected officials and continues to be led by them; our members drive our agenda, inform our programs, and support and educate one another.
The yeo team
mayor svante myrick
Director of Youth Leadership Programs
Svante Myrick is the youngest-ever mayor of Ithaca, New York and the Director of People For the American Way Foundation’s Youth Leadership Programs. He was first elected to the Common Council at the age of 20. A longtime member of the Young Elected Officials (YEO) Network, he now oversees the YEO Network along with its sister program, Young People For.
Raised by his mother, Myrick and his family faced homelessness throughout their lives and relied on school lunch programs and other critical public services. After attending Cornell University, Myrick served as Assistant Director of Student and Young Alumni programs at the college and tutored Ithaca youth. These experiences shape his leadership in Ithaca, where he’s put progressive values into action to improve the lives of the people in his community.
As mayor, Myrick’s innovative leadership has, for example, included putting forth a plan to address the heroin epidemic through supervised injection sites, prevention, treatment, and law enforcement.
Myrick is the recipient of the John F. Kennedy Frontier Award, YEO’s Barbara Jordan Leadership Award, and named this year by Rolling Stone “Hot Do-Gooder” public servant to watch, and most recently again in Forbes Magazine’s “30 under 30.” Myrick has been interviewed by local and national TV, radio, and print outlets including CNN, USA Today, and the New York Times on issues such as progressive leadership, racial justice, and millennial civic engagement.
Contact Svante at
Raquel Jones is originally from Orlando, Florida, and is a graduate of Florida A&M University where she majored in Political Science with a focus in Global Security. In the past, Raquel served as a legislative intern in the Florida House of Representatives. There she managed constituent relations, assisted in organizing legislative events, and reviewed pertinent policy analysis in preparation for committee and constituent meetings.
Currently, Raquel is the Program Manager for the Young Elected Officials (YEO) Network. By exchanging ideas, networking with like-minded elected officials, developing leadership skills, and connecting with policy development organizations and think tanks, the YEO Network empower members to transform their political vision into action. The YEO Network provides these officials several support mechanisms, with the ultimate goal of producing an enduring pipeline of progressive national leaders.
Raquel is passionate about long-lasting progressive change through youth activism; she hopes to leave a lasting impact on her community.
Contact Raquel at
Rep. Markus batchelor
Communications and Program Coordinator
Markus is the Communications and Program Coordinator, a YEO Network member, and the youngest-ever elected member of the District of Columbia State Board of Education, where he's represented over 16,000 K-12 students across 44 school communities in Ward 8 since he was elected at 23. Since taking office to represent one of DC’s most historically under-served communities, he has led on efforts focused on equity and closing the opportunity gap. He was elected at 21 to a term as an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner, where he represented residents in DC’s Congress Heights and Washington Highlands communities.
Markus is an alumnus and former trainer at the Marion Barry Youth Leadership Institute (MBYLI), where he worked with DC teens on personal development, civic engagement, college readiness, and employ-ability skills. He has been involved in community work since he was 15, holding various positions in civic and party organizations, fighting to secure statehood for the District’s over 700,000 residents, and serving as the 52nd Youth Mayor of the District of Columbia.
Contact Markus at
Alana Byrd was born and bred in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she graduated from Temple University. During her tenure as an undergrad, the 2012 presidential election piqued her interest, and she was soon bit by the politics bug. She changed her major to political science, with a focus on the legislative process and healthcare reform.
Shortly after graduating from college, Alana joined the team of then-state Representative Brendan F. Boyle as a legislative assistant and caseworker, and then followed Mr. Boyle through his congressional campaign (as his special assistant) and onward to the U.S. Congress, where she served as his legislative assistant for over three years. Following her time on Capitol Hill, Alana worked as a program assistant for the BlueGreen Alliance, a national nonprofit working to unite labor unions and environmental organizations.
Alana is thrilled to bring to the YEO Network her passion for governance and politics, as well as experience with young electeds and local government, and hopes to be able to build out the policy function of the YEO Network.
Contact Alana at
Linda began working with People For the American Way Foundation in 2000 as a volunteer but quickly turned her passion for civil rights into a career. Born and raised in North Florida, Linda’s background is in accounting. She worked as an accountant for Hopping, Boyd, Green and Sams Law Firm in Tallahassee, Florida and for the Florida Association of Counties.
Since joining People For the American Way Foundation and People For the American Way, Linda has worked on a number of campaigns, including election protection and Supreme Court nominations.
Contact Linda at
Michelle is a proud native Texan and progressive. Michelle graduated from the University of Texas at Dallas with a major in Historical Studies. As a student, Michelle organized events such as voter registration drives, policy discussions, and rallies to advance a vision for a more equitable Dallas.
Michelle became one of the first fellows for now-Congressman Colin Allred, inspired by the new voice he brought to her home-district. As an Archer Fellow, Michelle worked as a voting rights intern for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law to assist with voter protection across the country. Later, Michelle worked as a field organizer for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin before returning to Dallas to finish her degree. Most recently, Michelle managed a progressive Dallas city council campaign.
Michelle is eager to use her organizing skills in a way that satisfies her need to promote racial, economic, and social justice by finding and supporting young, progressive elected officials.
Contact Michelle at
joshua san miguel
Advanced Leadership Coordinator
Josh is a thoroughbred Kentuckian and a former nomad from an Air Force family. Growing up in a working class home with a hardworking single mother, he was raised from a young age with a set of core values and a passion for public service that sparked his dedication to economic and social justice. He graduated from Western Kentucky University with a B.A. in Political Science and began his career in politics working on a U.S. Senate race in his home state in the 2014 election cycle, organizing diverse communities around the fight for higher wages, equal pay, reproductive rights, and LGBTQ equality.
Since honing his organizing and management abilities, he has applied these skills to a variety of projects, in both the private and nonprofit sectors. Most recently, he served as program manager for a Virginia statewide progressive leadership development project.
Now, as part of the YEO Network team, he is excited to contribute to the development of young individuals looking to affect positive social change in their communities, their states, and the nation.
Contact Josh at