Tonight at 8PM: Live blog with College Dems President Tori Taylor

Tonight the Farm Team is hosting a live blog on BlueNC with College Democrats of North Carolina President Tori Taylor. She'll be here to talk about all of the great things CDNC is doing during Spring Break, and she'll be available to talk about the College Democrats of North Carolina's Historically Black Colleges and Universities Leadership Conference, Saturday, March 26th, at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Greensboro, NC (more about that here).

Post questions below and we'll see you at 8 PM!


Good thing this wasn't last night

Someone told me there was a big game going on.

Here are my questions.

  • What role could BlueNC play in helping you build the next generation of progressive leaders?
  • If I loaned you this site for twelve months, would the progressive future of North Carolina be more strong or less strong a year from now?
  • What's your take on the role of blogs versus Facebook for political activism. The average age here at this blog, based on rough guesses from a year ago, is in the 30 to 40 range, with the most active writers being old geezers like me. Some help would be welcome.
  • How many of you are there?

Follow ups

  • How many blog posts (anywhere) have you made in the past seven days?
  • How many Facebook posts?
  • How many Tweets?
  • How many emails have you sent?

2nd Response to James

I don't usually blog. I have posted a few blogs on various websites over the past year, but it's not something I do on a regular basis. I use Facebook and Twitter every day and the amount of posts/comments/messages/tweets over the past week that I've made will probably be in the hundreds.

I haven't counted recently, but I've probably sent between 100-200 e-mails in the past week. I range about 400-500 a month. (I actually did count last month)

Tori Taylor


Very interesting data, and familiar. I ask lots of young people these questions and the answers are usually similar.

Much appreciated.

My college newspaper...

I know on my college’s student newspaper, whenever you do an online comment, it gives you the option of post this to your facebook too? Something like that might help integrate BlueNC with the mediums that the younger demographics use. Not that I have any idea how to make that happen. But they let you post comments on their website directly from facebook, which saves the need of even having to create a new account or anything. It makes it really easy, and there is no learning curve because if you can use facebook, then you already know how to do it.

Response to James

Hi James,

Thanks for your questions and allowing me to join you tonight!

1) I think BlueNC could definitely play a role in building up the next generation of progressive leaders. One way would be to invite young people to blog on this website about the issues that are important to them, things they are working on, etc – similar to what I’m doing tonight. As you said in a later question, the average age of your bloggers is between 30-40. I think it would be a wonderful idea to get some College Democrat leaders from different parts of the state on here to write about the things they are doing to promote our Democratic agenda. This is something I would be happy to help facilitate for you if you’re interested :-)

2) If you loaned me this site for twelve months, it would be a disaster, haha. I know absolutely nothing about websites, so I’m sure I would accidentally crash the site – which no one wants! I do think that the conversation on this website could be improved by bringing in our young leaders. Yesterday, we traveled to Winston Salem to shoot our 2011-2012 recruitment video with the Salem College Democrats. The theme of the video was “Our Democratic Party,” which discussed how young people are not just the future of the party – they are the now. Young people play a vital role in the political process right now and we need to do more to include them in the inner political conversations. It is important when we're discussing the progressive agenda and future of this party to incorporate an overwhelmingly large portion of the population that is going to be directly impacted by this agenda. The progressive future in North Carolina will be much stronger if we incorporate young people into this conversation.

3) Concerning blogs versus Facebook for political activism, I think it really just depends. I know an entire audience of politicos who spend hours surfing through the blogs online to get their political news and updates, but I also know an entire generation of college students who spend their online time writing papers and on Facebook. I think it’s important to pull those students who mainly get their news their friend’s Facebook/Twitter posts outside that realm of social media into more in depth conversations about issues – like what you would usually find on blogs. Like I said earlier, I think it would be beneficial to BlueNC and other like blog websites to make an active push to recruit young people as writers. The reason the age averages between 30-40 on BlueNC isn’t because young people don’t care or don’t want to be involved – it’s because they don’t know or have yet to be engaged. Once you make an active push to bring these young people into these conversations, they will become involved and develop their own level of engagement in the political process.

3) The College Democrats of North Carolina have over 30 chapters across the state with around 1,000 members.

Tori Taylor

I think this is right, Tori

it’s because they don’t know or have yet to be engaged.

I also think some young Dems are a little hesitant to air their opinions outside their (sometimes age-specific) comfort zones. But from what I've seen on the occasions they do pop in here and take part in the discussion, they don't have anything to be hesitant about.

Nothing makes me feel better about the future of our Party than reading what our future leaders think. It's empowering.

Response to scharrison

You are right on target when saying that young people are a little hesitant to air their opinions outside their comfort zones. That is why College Democrat chapters are so important in our party. College Democrats give students a venue to become politically active with people their own age and explore their political interests on a social level as well. It can be somewhat nerve wracking for a 19-year-old student to walk into their local county headquarters and spend 3 hours phone banking with 1) no one they know 2) people that are likely 20 years old than them 3) unlikely opportunities for strong personal investments.

One of the most important thing about College Democrats is that we are all friends. These students don't come out to meetings and events just for the politics. They come out to be with other like minded students and activists that share their interests, values, politics, and.. their favorite movies and singers! We are all the same age and usually share similar interests outside of politics. We want to be involved - but we are still college students. College Democrats give young people an opportunity to get their feet wet in politics without being completely thrown into the crazy scene that grassroots campaigning and political organizing with no direction. We give students a venue to get involved, people that will be with them each step of the way of their political journey, and a clear direction after they graduate for their political future.

This is why it's so important for our party leaders to support College Democrats. I guarantee you that if students and young people have good experiences as College Democrats - they will remain involved, engaged, and active participants in the political process for years to come.

Tori Taylor

One last question

and then I'll shut up.

If college Dems had a psychic pie to slice, and the four categories were president, Congress, state government, and local politics, how big would each slice be?

  • President
  • Congress
  • State government (Gov., and General Assembly)
  • Local (county and municipal)

Looking forward to tonight!

Just dropping by a little early to say hello and I'm looking forward to answering your questions tonight!

Tori Taylor


It's hard to predict how many people will show up to comment. On most Sunday evenings, we cycle through a dozen or so registered users, with another hundred maybe who are just passing through anonymously.

If I don't get to stay with you the whole time tonight, let me ask now that you circle back once or twice over the next few days to see if there are loose ends.

(I'm writing from a farm in Maryland where I have somewhat unpredictable caregiving duties. We're never sure exactly when I'll be where, or for how long. In any case, welcome. Thank you for doing this, and thanks to Sam for managing everything.

Here are the Softballs ;-)

  • Tell us more about the HBCU event (longer post about that here), why people should help, and what people can do to help.
  • Aren't you crazy for organizing two statewide events on consecutive weekends?
  • Where do CDNC members go after college?
  • What is CDNC doing to lobby on current issues?
  • What is CDNC's highest, best purpose over the next year?

HBCU Leadership Conference

As part of our 2010 election efforts, the College Democrats of North Carolina did a large push for voter registration across the state. We targeted 4 HBCU (Historically Black College & University) schools to push these efforts on. With 11 HBCUs in North Carolina, we only have 1 College Democrat chapter on all those campuses. With the voter registration efforts, long story short, it was a complete failure. We couldn't get any support to promote political awareness/activism on these campuses. After that, it really put the issue of HBCU outreach and engagement on the forefront of our agenda.

I don't deal with failure well, I was extremely bothered by the fact that we weren't able to have success on these HBCU campuses. So I started bouncing ideas around with several people, making calls, getting perspective from HBCU students, etc about how we could get students involved on these campuses. The final productive of my 3 week brainstorming session was the HBCU Leadership Conference. We decided to bring students from each of these schools to one central location for a full day of trainings, speakers, motivational breakout sessions, networking events, etc. We wanted to bring these students together to 1) inspire and motivate them to be involved in the political process and 2) give them the tools, resources, and knowledge necessary to take this inspiration back to their campuses and communities and be effective leaders. We've got a great agenda lined up for students with over 20 speakers from across the state, including Congressman Mel Watt, NCDP Chair David Parker, State Rep. Alma Adams, State Senator Gladys Robinson, OFA State Field Director Greg Jackson, Charlotte Mayor Pro Tem Patrick Cannon, and many other elected officials, party leaders, and HBCU alum from across the state.

A lot of people talk about how important the issue of HBCU outreach is. Everyone thinks it's important to get these students involved and engaged, but it seems like not much is ever done about it. I'm proud that the College Democrats of North Carolina have worked hard to make a real, ambitious push to make the first step in HBCU outreach. But we haven't done it without help. We've received a lot of support from our national organization - College Democrats of America and the Democratic National Committee. We were lucky to secure a grant from the DNC as well as donations from folks across North Carolina to make this event completely free of charge to students. I hope this conference serves as the beginning of a long, consistent line of communication and involvement between HBCU students and the Democratic Party.

Tori Taylor


Now I'm off to find that fundraising link.

Hint, hint.

Other answers for NCFarmTeam

I felt like the HBCU Conference deserved a post on it's own :-)

1) I am completely crazy for organizing two statewide events on consecutive weekends (The HBCU Leadership Conference is Saturday, March 26th and our YDNC/CDNC State Convention is the next weekend April 1st & 2nd).

2) Our members do countless things after college. A lot of us go into graduate school, jump on political campaigns, get involved in lobbying/advocacy work, run for a local political office, or some other career in the political arena. Some of our members don't make careers in politics, but remain engaged as a voter, local volunteer, etc.

3) CDNC is doing our spring lobby day at the General Assembly this Wednesday, March 9th. We are planning to focus on 1) protecting education in our budget 2) the ban on gay marriage 3) the voter ID bill and a few other issues. We will be there all day Wednesday and will hold a press conference at 1pm from the General Assembly to discuss our efforts for that day.

4) The focus I would like CDNC to take next year is to make sure students remain engaged with their local and municipal elections and to make sure that our organization and chapters has a solid foundation and structure moving forward to 2012. I want to make sure our chapters have the resources they need to keep themselves organized, strong, and engaged for the upcoming election cycles. We've had an extremely successful year with the amount of work we've done on a statewide level this year and I'm hoping continue that success into next year.

Tori Taylor

How are the college dems

reacting to the potential Photo Voter ID bill?

While I see this as potentially suppressing many groups, chief among them are students, and as a student this concerns me.

How many students have a current driver license with a current address? I didn't pay to update mine the second I moved to go to college. In fact many people didn't especially since they didn't have cars on campus. I didn't pay to update it every time I switched dorms. I didn't pay to update it every time I switched apartments. I don't even know that there was a DMV near enough to campus do have access to without a car. And student IDs do not have addresses printed on them, so they're no good either. Now depending on how they write the bill, it may include things like power bills with a current address could supplement a Student ID, but they may very well make it as restrictive as possible, and how many students really have power bills living in dormitories?

So I guess I have two questions:

1) How engaged are the CDNC in fighting this effort? In asking their legislators to oppose it? And perhaps most importantly asking Governor Perdue to veto it? Maybe writing in their student newspapers? Contacting student governments and other students groups to try to rally them behind opposition to this student voter suppression?

2) Are you preparing for how to deal with it if it does pass? Making students as aware as possible about what kind of IDs they're going to need, and helping them get those IDs updated?

Response to Jake

The voter ID bill is something that is definitely at the top of our radar. After the 2010 elections, we have really been focusing on keeping students engaged after a tough defeat. The way we have structured this is focusing on holding our leaders and the new Republican majority in the General Assembly accountable and making sure students are aware of what's going on.

I can't even count how many students I know personally that would be affected by this legislation - including myself. I am currently registered at my campus address, but my license still has my home address. I don't know any student that changes their license to match their dorm room address. University issued student IDs don't have addresses on them and like you said, students who live in dorm rooms aren't going to have utility bills. No matter how they write the details of the bill, it's really hard for me to see a scenario where we aren't going to have our work cut out for us regarding the student vote.

CDNC is playing a very active role in opposing this legislation. Last month, we held a statewide chapter conference call with the highest chapter participation we've ever had (over 20 chapters represented) with OFA State Field Director Greg Jackson and NCDP Chair David Parker about the voter ID bill. We made sure students knew what was going on with the legislation, what it meant for our party, and more directly - what it meant for students. With the help of OFA and the NCDP, we were able to portray to students why this bill is something that their chapters should get involved in opposing on a local and statewide level.

CDNC also created a guide for chapters and students on how to get their voices heard on legislation like this. We included several pieces of legislation that we felt were particularly harmful to students, with voter ID at the top of that list, and gave in depth ways for students to get involved. This includes calling their state legislators, holding visibility/informational events on their campuses, writing letters to the editors for their school and local newspaper, etc. We also included directions, tips, and letter to the editor templates for students to use. We did ask students to make calls to the Governor in the event that legislation did pass and her veto would be necessary. We want to make sure that Governor Perdue knows she has the political support to make these tough decisions.

On a statewide level, CDNC issued a press release and regional letters to the editor strongly opposing the voter ID bill and what it meant for students. We have also organized our statewide lobby day to bring students from across the state together in Raleigh to speak with state legislators and voice our opposition.

Like I said earlier, I feel like no matter how the details of this bill are written, if it passes, we are going to have our work cut out for us. If we want students to be engaged in the 2011 municipal elections, we're going to have to educate them on how to vote all over again. It really makes our work as a student organization twice as hard. It's already a hard job spending countless hours reaching out to our peers, engaging them in a daunting, confusing, and sometimes cynical political process, and keeping them engaged when the superstars aren't on the ballot. But with this voter ID bill, we have a completely different battle to fight. We not only have to get these students engaged, involved, and wanting to vote, but we have to re-education our entire audience on how to vote. So, in answer to your last question, yes we are thinking about the possibility of the bill passing. And yes, we are preparing for long, uphill battle if it does. But we're ready. We have a strong statewide organization and amazing chapters that I am very proud of and I know each and every College Democrat in the state is up to this challenge.

Tori Taylor

Thanks for the response

I'm especially glad to hear about the lobbying day. As a grad student (who probably would be a college dem but for their meetings happening during my class times) I am particularly concerned about this issue, and I did one of those lobbying days with Democracy NC and Common Cause regarding the Photo Voter ID bill not too long ago & one with Equality NC on the marriage ban thing, and found them to be very effective.

If we want students to be engaged in the 2011 municipal elections

They're certainly coming up fast. I may have to start plugging this again for any Chapel Hillians around interested in the coming election. Another link to plug is for Democracy NC's volunteer sign up which is another way to fight the Voter ID bill.

Thanks for response Tori! Keep up the good work!

Question for our College Dems

A long time ago, in what seemed like a galaxy far, far away, I served first as Vice President of the NC Federation of College Democrats while completing my term as President of the UNC-Chapel Hill YDs (and before later serving in other local, district and state Party offices). ...

That being said, I recall in the late 1980s and early 1990s being one of many volunteers for statewide Democratic candidates. Though it is my hope that these volunteer services proved beneficial to the cash-strapped Democratic candidates back in those days, my time driving, calling, delivering, drafting, inputting data, speaking, organizing, etc., etc., have all proved immeasurable in their impact on how I wound up in the legislature and in statewide office starting in the 1990s. The educational and practical hands-on experiences were incredible.

So here's my primary question: Has the leadership of the College Democrats considered how College Dems might help our Democratic Council of State candidates specifically - both incumbents and challengers - best recruit and retain College Dem interns to help on political campaign matters over the course of 2011 and 2012?

Ideas: Maybe set up interviews for interested college students with interested candidates? Establish a bank of interns or those who might wish to earn a limited stipend? Designate a College Dem contact/key for each Statewide Democratic candidate's campaign on each organized campus? Other ideas?

I'm eager to watch our 21st century NC College Dems rise to the challenge once again, as they did in 2008.

And props to the Grassroots Farm Team!

Respectfully yours,

Your NC Insurance Commissioner

Response to Wayne Goodwin

Thanks for your question and suggestions, Commissioner.

I think you bring up an extremely important point. It can be hard at times to direct students to local candidates or lesser-known statewide officers like the Council of State when there are the sexy races on the ballot, like U.S. Senate and in presidential election years.

One way to solve this problem would be to put these candidates in front of the students. An idea that CDNC has thrown around is the thought of a “speaker series” where we invite statewide elected officials and candidates, such as those for Council of State, on somewhat of a speaking tour to several college campuses. These events would serve as a venue to state a dialogue between students and these elected officials. It would be a great opportunity for Council of State candidates to discuss what they do, what it means for North Carolina, and how their decisions can affect students. This speaker series is something that will likely be implemented next year. You should do it ;-)

Internships are always a great way to bring students out. It’s a way they can get hands on experience in politics and it’s something they can put on their professional resume. I think you’ve got some excellent ideas relating to student internships and it’s something we will definitely look closer into for this year. Especially with 2011 being an off year election, it’s going to be CDNC’s job to make sure students stay engaged with their local elections. We will be having conversations with many campaigns across the state regarding how to incorporate local chapters and students in their efforts. I’m confident we will come up with a solid plan for 2011 and 2012 to make sure students stay engaged and involved with their local and Council of State candidates. We will be coordinating with campaigns, candidates, and elected officials throughout the state to put together the most effective plan.

Tori Taylor

Thanks everyone!

I think I've answered all the questions posted so far, but I'll check back later to see if anyone has any other questions or responses :-). I appreciate the opportunity from Blue NC & the NC Farm Team to be with y'all tonight! If anyone has further questions or would like to talk more about what the College Democrats are doing this year - don't hesitate to contact me at I'm always open to comments, suggestions, and just conversations on involving young people in our party.

Also, don't forget to join the NC Farm Team in supporting the College Democrats and our HBCU Leadership Conference:

Thanks again for everyone's support for CDNC!

Tori Taylor

thank you!

Thanks for the great work and the informative answers!

Yes, thank you

I had a small family emergency last night and had to leave before things wrapped up. You did a great job ... and your clear answers were much appreciated.

Don't Forget!

Goal Thermometer

We'll be back after the lobby day to talk about that and the lead-up to the HBCU event, but I'd really like to encourage everybody who can to chip in to help put on this HBCU event - even if you can only spare $10. I believe this event is going to do quite a bit to lay the groundwork for activating the people we need to win down ticket races across the state, and it's a great chance to bring an underrepresented type of student into the fold.

And if you have any doubt about how effective HBCU students can be politically, look no further than Derwin Montgomery, who won his seat on the Winston-Salem City Council by inspiring WSSU students to come out and care about their local government.