Advancing legislation and policies that aim to increase healthy human lifespan.
Longevity is a journey that would be good to imagine we’re all taking together; however, societal constraints, governmental policy and economic and business concerns often mean that we can be pulling in different directions and when you add shifting priorities and a changing global landscape into the mix, we can sometimes lose sight of the bigger picture.
Longevity.Technology: Longevity is a common goal that benefits everyone – living a longer, healthier life. Singing from the same hymn sheet should be a given, but since it isn’t, how can we foster cohesion of thinking, strategy and policy at a higher level? Enter the Alliance for Longevity Initiatives, which was founded with the goal of creating social and political action around the issues of combating age-related chronic conditions and increasing the number of healthy, disease-free years we experience. In a nutshell they are all about advancing legislation and policies that aim to increase healthy human lifespan and we were lucky enough to sit down with Dylan Livingston, the A4LI’s Founder and President.
Livingston has been aware of and interested in the longevity space since the late 2000s, partly because of his father, but it wasn’t until the COVID-19 pandemic that he became invested in joining the longevity crusade himself.
“Living with my 94 year old grandfather during the height of the pandemic in New York, and watching him watch his generational cohort get wrecked by the virus, really woke me up,” Livingston recalls. “I have always known aging contributes to things like declining immune system function, but that was the first time it really hit me, and I realized that aging is something worth fighting against.”
This realisation came to Livingston in the middle of his own budding political career; he had worked for various institutions on the Democratic side in the US, most notably working as an organiser in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania for the Biden campaign, and after his time ended with Biden, he decided he wanted to marry his interests in longevity science and his skill set in political organizing.
“I realized there were no organizations in America that legally could politically lobby for the longevity industry as a whole – specifically, there were no 501(c)(4) organizations (a special designation of nonprofit that has political capabilities) focused on pro-longevity reform in the US,” explains Livingston. “So I guess you can say I really got involved because I noticed a gap in the industry, and I was looking to get involved in a way that would best utilize my experience and skill set. The A4LI has found itself a nice little niche in the longevity ecosystem!”
Livingston has extensive experience in developing lobbying activity on Capitol Hill, having been a political organiser for the last three years; he worked for various programmes backed by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in 2019, worked for the main political consultants for some of the leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement in the early part of 2020, and then worked for the Biden campaign as an organiser out in exurban Pennsylvania for the second half of 2020. Despite being involved in some notable political situations over the last few years, Livingston says he never had a desire to be a partisan political player in his career.
“I went to college in the suburbs of Philadelphia and in 2016, when Pennsylvania went for Trump, I realized the 2020 election would be one talked about in the history books for years to come, and Philadelphia would be the center of it all,” he explains. “I knew I had to get involved despite my reservations, and because of that choice, I was able to develop a network of Democratic operatives, many of whom are now working in various House, Senate and White House staffer positions. So, with where my skills and network reside in politics, political advocacy as a career path made a lot of sense. I’m very happy I get to do it for something I care so deeply about.”
Of course, regardless of political affiliation, aging comes to everyone, and Livingston feels keenly that bias should be left at the door.
“Ultimately our goal is to make longevity a completely bipartisan issue,” he says. “We look for longevity to eventually act as a political filter for politicians on both the right and the left, and the long-term goal is to make it so that no candidate on either ticket can run unless they’re pro-longevity, pro-increasing healthy lifespan.”
To reflect its goal of making longevity bipartisan, the A4LI has purposefully filled its board and leadership with a variety of political viewpoints.
“We have some experienced veteran political operatives on the Republican side to serve as a counterbalance to my clearly partisan past, including board member Joe DeSantis, who is currently Newt Gingrich’s Chief Strategy Officer,” explains Livingston. “We made a conscious decision to make the A4LI publicly bipartisan-facing, which is important because longevity is to become that bipartisan filter we dream of, we must have many convincing messages for people on all parts of the political spectrum.”
The A4LI board also includes longevity heavyweights such as James Peyer, Sonia Arrison and Christine Peterson – decades of experience in the longevity space. Another board members is Joe DeSantis, who is our connection to Newt Gingrich (as previously mentioned, Joe is Newt’s Chief Strategist). Livingston encourages readers to visit the A4LI website for a better sense of who is on the board of directors, who is backing the Alliance.
“We’ve secured a large contribution from an extremely notable longevity investor, and we are in talks with others, so continue to check back,” he says.
Check out the second part of this interview in which Livingston discusses why messaging matters and how to make politicians see the light.
The A4LI is raising funding on Gitcoin – find out more.
The Alliance for Longevity Initiatives is hosting a panel event on 9th December. Former Congressman Steve Israel (a Democratic politician from New York) will be on the panel, bringing a Democratic politician’s perspective, and Drs Dina Radenkovic and Nir Barzilai and the Chair of the A4LI’s Board of Directors, Sonia Arrison, will be joining him. Visit the Alliance for Longevity Initiatives’ website for further details and to register.