What the Young Democrats have been doing

Hey y'all,

I just wanted to drop by and update you on the goings-on of the Young Democrats of North Carolina.

Follow me below the fold ...

Since our swearing-in with Chief Justice Sarah Parker and Representative Grier Martin on April 28, we've been on the ground, on the phones, and all over social media standing up for what we believe in. We ended April by advocating for House Bill 124, which is a bipartisan bill to support Children's Advocacy Centers. These centers do a lot of good for North Carolina's children during particularly vulnerable times in their lives.

For the rest of the week, we were focused on Elizabeth Colbert-Busch's race. Dustin Ingalls wrote a great blog about our trip down to Beaufort, SC to canvass in the rain to get another Democrat in Congress. Though the election didn't turn out how we wanted, we made over 1000 door knocks as YDs across North Carolina and the country called from home.

This week, as Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger unleashed the most regressive tax plan in North Carolina history, YDNC's rapid response was in full effect. Yesterday, we released a graphic that uses Berger's own calculator to show how the "Tax Fairness Act" is anything but. Next week, we've got some great stuff in the works to get the message out about how the Berger Tax hurts the working class every time they travel down the grocery aisle.

Finally, for Teacher Appreciation Day, public school teacher Adrian Singerman and UNCG Education major Emily Frazier Brown both noted that "taking a positive approach to teachers and public education in our state will lead to positive outcomes for our children." That's a lesson that the General Assembly desperately needs to learn.

Now, we're gearing up for District Conventions, which start tomorrow. In addition to electing officers for the NCDP, YDs will caucus at each district to elect a chair and vice chair to grow chapters and recruit leaders in every part of the state. Some of our strongest new leaders are coming from rural areas - for example, YDs Corey Duvall (Macon) and Nick Carpenter (Cleveland) are County Party Chairs in the west, Matt Hughes (Orange) was reelected County Chair, and in the East Keith Mason (Beaufort) was elected first vice chair.

Hope y'all are well here at BlueNC!



The future of the party is bright

Here in Wake County, we got two of our members elected to the county party board, Aolani Donegan as Secretary and Lee Sartain as 3rd Vice Chair. We also got 15 members elected to the SEC, giving us about 19% of Wake's delegation, more than double our previous representation.

When will YDs step up and orgnize more precincts?

When at one point the Wake Dems had under 100 organized precincts, how many YDs stood up to adopt a precinct and get them organized?

And at one point during the last year's precinct organization efforts, there were no District Coordinators for nearly 125 organized or unorganized precincts.

At the Eric Mansfield meeting at the PR, one YD came up to Blaise Strenn and myself and told us she wanted to get more involved in the Party. Well, if you know anything about Blaise and I - we are great believers in grass roots organizing from the precinct on up. We asked her what her precinct was, and we knew it to be unorganized. So when we asked her if she wanted our help organizing her precinct, that apparently wasn't the sort of involvement she was interested in.

These are great leadership opportunities, but we don't see the YDs tripping over themselves to organize precincts to give the voters of all ages in those precincts a voice in the Democratic Party.

When we have vacancies in elected offices previously held by a Democrat, we rely on Executive Committee members from organized precincts to elect a replacement. When we don't have enough organized precincts, it's the same thing as having low voter turnout in an election where people complain about an elite group of people deciding who holds office.

It's the same thing with resolutions and platform stuff - do we really want our Party run by a very small elite group of people, or shouldn't we organize all our precincts across the state with as many delegates as legally allowed so we have a party made up of the largest and most diverse group of people possible?

It's great that you have so many YDs in the SEC - perhaps that might help you with elections for State Party officers in 2015? But the SEC meets only once twice a year - and if you don't show up for two meetings in that two-year term, you lose your seat. So you gotta show up - or get a proxy. But remember you only have one vote on the SEC.

If you are a precinct Chair. Vice Chair or delegate - you get a weighted vote. But it also requires that you do more than just show up to YD meetings. You have to go out and travel in your precinct. You have to find out what concerns the voters in your precinct have - and what they want you to do about it. You should go out and knock on doors in your precinct well before any election - to get volunteers for your precinct GOTV effort. You also need to tour the precinct during the lead-up to the election to see who has what signs out in their yards - and who needs signs! You also need to be at your precinct polling place (and even Early Voting sites) to make sure you educate your voters right up to the last possible minute before they walk into the polling place - then be there when they walk out to make sure there were no problems.

When I go into a CEC meeting in Wake County and I see that I am one of the youngest precinct Chairs and I am 52 going on 53 - then I feel we need to get more younger Democrats active in the Party doing more than just going to YD meetings and standing up on stage with all their friends asking to be elected to party offices. When we have so many unorganized precincts across the state that are BEGGING to be organized by young and talented Democrats, I wonder why so many won't stand up and stand a post?

There are only so many paying jobs with campaigns, staff jobs with the Party or with Democratic elected office holders. But there are TONS of unorganized precincts waiting for your leadership skills!

Some folks say that older Democrats won't respond well to a younger Chair. Horse-pucky! 93 YO Matt Hughes is doing a fantastic job over in Orange County - do you see older Dems not listening to him? Part of Matt's success is that he shows up and does the work. P.R. Latta actively sought out a younger Dem to take over his duties as Precinct Chair when he had to step down to work on the John Brooks campaign in 2012. The guy won election - then never showed up for duty. He failed to do the simple tasks of finding precinct poll greeters in May or November.

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting

Grass roots organizing is hard work.

Organizing a precinct is hard work, from getting warm bodies to the first meeting in odd # years, to standing in the cold November rains to greet voters with a smile, every day during voting. It means talking to strangers, making calls to sometimes hostile folks, and persuading volunteers to work for a thank you, given from your heart.

It can be thankless work, rewarding with a win, but crushing in defeat. It lacks the glory and schmooze of Executive Council insider emails, and political gossip. It does not lead to paid work, but it can lead to the world we want to live in.

It is where every serious political activist learns how to run and win elections, the most important elections, the ones that effect people's every day lives, at home, in the county: municipals, sheriff, Bd of Commissioner and Education.

It is where true leaders begin and learn, and earn respect. They eventually may run for office, knowing how it is done. But most important of all, they build the Democratic Party in strength and number, and can turn out the vote when it counts, at the ballot box.

I appreciate the suggestion

I'm personally chair of my precinct (in fact, last year, all three of my precinct's officers were YDs), and Aolani and Marjorie Reed have served as district coordinators. Some of us are doing this sort of organizing. It wouldn't be a bad idea to help other precincts get themselves organized.

However, I will say that our generation is more mobile and less tied to our neighborhoods than older generations. A lot of us are from other places of the country, and we love Raleigh and Wake County and NC, but we're not necessarily going to put down roots on one street or in one apartment complex for very long.

So we think of political organizing in a different way. Most of us like to work on targeted competitive races rather than just getting out the vote in heavily Democratic precincts. We're the ones who knock on doors and make calls for Nancy McFarlane, Kevin Hill, Jim Messina, Erv Portman, Sig Hutchinson, etc. Personally, I've been canvassing since I was 15 and got involved with the Teen Democrats at Enloe. My first race was Jack Nichols when he ran against Art Pope in 2000, and then the next fall for Charles Meeker's first race.

I think it's rather insulting to suggest we only seek the glory of elected office or relish insider drama. We're the workhorses of the party--we get candidates elected and we seek the say in party business that we deserve because of our hard work, expertise, and values. It's our generation that is most solidly Democratic.

I'm not actively involved

with the young dems directly, but I do like to see more young people involved in the political arena. As someone who is in his late 20s, I have been vice chair of my precinct for the 2nd year now, and am a member of the LGBT dems as well. I know there is an active college dems in Orange County. Is there a young dems chapter here?

Sam can correct me if I'm wrong...

...but I believe the Orange chapter is not chartered with YDNC and is not active at the moment. You could always rejuvenate it though.

Guilford YDs

The Guilford YDs had their first meeting of the term last night, with 12 first-time attendees. At the Guilford County delegation, 3 new Young Democrats were elected to the SEC, along with retaining each of the seats already held by YDs. We've begun to plan our YD Day of Action, and have discussed creating a partnership with the Animal Shelter, for proceeds to be donated in honor of Jamie Kirk Hahn.

Thanks Frazier

Good to hear from you.

Hope you'll create a BlueNC account and take over this place. It's been my experience that the ones who show up are the ones who eventually lead.

Keep us posted.