One year ago, Representative Lauren Underwood won the Democratic nominee for Congress in her beloved Illinois district. Last November, all seven counties in the 14th district voted her into office.

The 32-year-old congressional leader sat down with Blavity to talk about climate change, net neutrality, healthcare reform, and how society must rely on themselves for change.

On Climate Change:

As communities of color and particularly black communities, the nurse turned politician says, "It's up to us to be holding folks accountable for their actions that further pollute and harm our planet. If we chose to opt-out at this time, I cringe at the thought of what's going to happen to our kids and their kids in the years to come." 

On Net-Neutrality:

A proud co-sponsor of HR-1644, also known as the House Democrats' Save the Internet Act, Underwood notes, if you're unsure whether or not your state representative supports this bill, reach out and let them know you're expecting them to do so.

On Health Care:

One issue the public health professional holds near and dear to her heart is healthcare reform. "To me, healthcare is a human right," she told Blavity. Regarding the current conversation around Medicare For All, Underwood says, "How can we transform our healthcare system in a way that is inclusive and in a way that allows people who need the coverage to get the coverage they need, and done in a way people can afford."

On Millenials and Generation Z:

But Underwood also notes her thoughts on the power both millennials and generation Z have to not just vote for the right candidates but to also be the right candidate.

"I want all the Millennials and Generation Z (I see y'all too) who are watching this to engage. If you're not registered to vote, go out and vote. Rep. Underwood is asking us to step up and figure out how to get your name on a ballot and run," Underwood said.

The former Congressional Black Caucus Foundation intern said folks who were once oblivious to political engagement before joining her campaign, have since adapted and learned what it takes to address challenges within your own community. Some of them have even stepped up to become candidates themselves, from city council to state office.  

According to Rep. Underwood, three Republicans have already filed to run against her in 2020, in an attempt to win back their congressional seat. And there's no time to waste because, in Underwood's words, "2020 is here. It's now."

For more information on Rep. Underwood, visit