This week marks a very important week for the youth branch of the Democratic Party. This week, young politicos nationwide flocked to Dallas, Texas to attend the National Convention of Young Democrats of America, the youth branch of the Democratic Party and the largest youth political organization in the world.
For the last two years, I have served as the Finance Director of the national level of YDA. I have worked closely with the Executive Board of the organization alongside Louis Elrod – our president from Georgia, Constantina Meis – our Executive Vice President from New Jersey, our three extremely talented Vice Presidents – Kristina Contreras Fox (Rhode Island), Danielle Glover (Colorado), Daniel Sims (Arkansas), our Secretary Quentin Waltham-Ocama from Minnesota and our Treasurer Drew Pollom from Washington State. In my tenure, I have seen our organization go from unstable to in the black to profitable.
This convention is incredibly important and signals the planning for the 2018 elections and critical lobbying strategy. With the election of Donald Trump, YDA was handed a large task in righting the ship. Many perceive the youth branch of the party as overwrought with Berniecrats of apathetic non-participants, but that is not so. Young adults are engaged and want to participate, but we are the most financially burdened generation in American history. This is why we must be beard.
Over the past year, I have planned millennial centric sessions, participated in deliberative democracy planning sessions, hosted events, provided millennial recruitment trainings for large political organizations including the Democratic Organization of Richmond County in NY towards getting more collaboration in the coming elections.
Though the 2016 youth branch’s desire to be heard in the strategy of fell on deaf ears, the last several months have been met with serious willingness to participate in Bench Building.
In this convention, the New Jersey Young Democrats delegation to Dallas was funded by Democrats, friends across the state, towards removing barriers to access in political participation. This year, NJ had elected officials show a commitment to the next generation of leaders .
Let this serve as gratitude to those who will hear us, those who may be inequitably burdened by student loan debt or high health costs. Let this serve as an acknowledgement in partnership. Let this serve as a statement that the youth branch of the party is willing to participate and that we are receiving help from those who understand our unique financial challenges born of bad policy spawned in the Reagan era and manifesting now.
Thank you to our sponsors:
Senator Nick Sacco
Hudson County Executive Thomas A. DeGise
Sheriff Frank Schilliari
Assemblyman Jamel Holley
Assemblywoman Angelica Jimenez
Mayor Colleen Mahr
Freeholder Anthony Vainieri
Bluewave NJ President Marcia Marley
Councilman Dan Kline
My fellow BluewaveNJ Board members
and to all the friends and supported us as well.
This commitment to building the youth branch is critical. Moreover, the overwhelming support towards my bid for Women’s Caucus Chair of YDA within our great state is both moving and leaves me beyond words with respect to my level of gratitude. However, the greatest feat here was a full sponsorship of over a dozen young people to get to Dallas to actively participate in shaping the party.
To wear my national Finance Director hat, thank you for enabling our organization to have the view of the best and brightest of NJ represented. On behalf of NJ Young Democrats and our Delegation Chair Michael Makarski, thank you for giving our members this vital networking opportunity. On behalf of my running mates in the YD WOMEN in Bold slate, Cindy Monzon (California), Kehau Cortez-Camero (Hawaii) and Zulna (Puerto Rico) the level of support NJYD intended as an endorsing chapter. And, on behalf of myself, thank you for taking my call or the call of my ace in the hole Aimee Focaraccio of North Bergen, a rising star in her own right. Thank you for acknowledging us, the emerging leading voter block.
Also, thank you to our NJYD President Marshall Spevak for leading the charge. Marshall is in NJ building the bench of our High School members, keeping them on track and teaching them the way. Feel free to take his call too. We look forward to the new leadership, leadership that will move us forward.
Koren Frankfort, YDA Finance Chair and the whole of the NJYD Delegation