The composition of the 2009 U.S. Senate is younger than last year's, but it is still dominated by Boomers. There are more Senators in their 40s than before, and many in their 50s. And some of the Traditionalists, even on the older end, still remain.
Some changes are being noticed almost immediately. Some younger members are eager to be heard quickly, rather than wait quietly for the traditional amount of time. Senate leadership is trying to accommodate them and is shortening the time frame to qualify for subcommittee chairmanships to a minimum of two years. Some new members of the Senate have already made their maiden speeches, which previously would have been considered highly presumptuous.
Veteran Susan Collins from Maine, 56, who has played a lead role in getting the economic stimulusus legislation passed, isn't sure what to make of the changeover. She was quoted in the New York Times as saying,"It could mean less experience and perhaps less wisdom, or it could mean increased energy and more people in touch with the day-to-day concerns of families. " Others expect more challenges to the status quo.
Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, 53, said the Senate is one of the few places where he is one of the youngest people around. He observes that "The protocols and atmosphere are changing. There is a little more Irreverence permitted. And I think all of that is good for debate, discussion, cooperation and working through the hard decisions we have to make here" (as reported by Carl Hulse in the New York Times -February 1, 2009). This should be regarded as constructive in business too.
So some leadership is definitely passing to the younger Boomers, but clearly, the Boomers are there to stay for a while. And if we look to the animal world, there's a lot of life and stardom left in the older generations. For the first time, a 10 year old dog, Stump, came out of retirement to win Best in Show at the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club Show at Madison Square Garden.
Phyllis Weiss Haserot www.pdcounsel.com