ATIMA OMARA (VA), PRESIDENT
Atima Omara was elected President at the Young Democrats of America’s 2013 biennial convention in San Antonio, Texas. She is the first African American President in YDA’s 81 year history. She previously served as Vice President from 2011-2013; Director of YDA’s Mid-Atlantic Region from 2009-11; and as Chair of YDA’s Women’s Caucus from 2006-09.
Atima grew up in the metro Richmond, Virginia area. In 2003, she received her BA from the University of Virginia. Since then, Atima has spent her time professionally in politics and public service for the last ten years. She worked for then Governor Mark Warner of Virginia, and on over eight federal, state, and local political campaigns in and outside of Virginia. Atima has worked on several issue campaigns for unions and other various progressive non-profit organizations and her writings on progressive issues have been featured in the Huffington Post, Ms. Magazine, Women’s ENews, RH Reality Check, & Fem2pt0.
Atima has also served in state & local leadership with her chapter the Virginia Young Democrats and for her work was named VAYD’s Female Young Democrat of the Year in 2005. Currently, Atima is a member of Arlington County Democratic Committee’s Steering Committee and also serves on the boards of two women’s health organizations.
In 2012, Atima finished her Masters Degree in Public Administration at George Mason University. She currently resides with her husband, Clay, in Arlington.
ERIN CARLSTROM (CA), EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT
Erin Carlstrom was elected Executive Vice President of the Young Democrats of America at the organization’s 2013 Convention in San Antonio, Texas.
Erin Carlstrom has served as the Vice Mayor of Santa Rosa, CA since November 2012 and was National Committeewoman for the California Young Democrats from 2009-2013.
Erin lives in Santa Rosa and is a local business owner. She is a business attorney and works alongside her husband on their family business.
Since serving on the City Council, Erin has played an instrumental role in taking up President Obama’s green challenge by enacting landmark legislation on local power generation, legislation protecting pedestrians and cyclists and community climate action plans.
Erin graduated from Yale University with a B.A. in Political Science and obtained a law degree from Pepperdine University. Prior to law school, she was an NCAA Academic All-American athlete in swimming. Erin lives in Downtown Santa Rosa with her husband Nick, son Adlai, and their two rescue dogs, Toby and Honey.
BEN YEE (NY), VICE PRESIDENT
Benjamin Yee was elected Vice President of the Young Democrats of America at the organization’s 2013 National Convention in San Antonio, Texas
Ben has served as the Downstate Region Vice President of the New York State Young Democrats since May 2010 and as President of Manhattan Young Democrats since January 2013; he joined the Young Democrats movement in 2008.
Ben lives in New York City and is a native New Yorker. He graduated from the University of Michigan in partnership with the London School of Economics with an honors degree in economics and a degree in political science. He works at a technology startup and as a consultant with government institutions and social businesses.
Ben worked for President Obama’s 2008 campaign in the Tri-State Finance Office and then as New Media Director for New York.
BEN COHEN (KS), VICE PRESIDENT
Ben Cohen was elected Vice President of the Young Democrats of America at the organization’s 2013 National Convention in San Antonio, Texas
Ben previously served as the President of the Kansas Young Democrats from 2011-13, YDA Parliamentarian, Secretary of the YDA State Presidents Association, and Parliamentarian of the YDA Jewish Caucus.
As President of the Kansas Young Democrats, Ben has overseen an development of several new chapters including expansion into traditionally less-Democratic parts of Kansas. He also revitalized KYDs’ social media program and intra-communications program to gain input from leaders from smaller chapters.
In 2008, Ben helped President Obama’s campaign in Lawrence, KS. In addition to his roles with YDA and KYD, he serves as secretary of the Shawnee County Democratic Party and was elected as a Delegate to the 2012 Democratic National Convention. A native of Buffalo, NY, Ben has called Kansas home since was four.
LOUIS ELROD (GA), VICE PRESIDENT
Louis Elrod was elected Vice President of the Young Democrats of America at the organization’s 2013 National Convention in San Antonio, Texas
Louis has been involved in the Young Democrats since 2004, serving as a leader on the high school, college, and state levels. After founding a vibrant high school chapter in his hometown, he served as president of the Young Democrats of the University of Georgia, his state’s largest chapter, during the 2008 election cycle. He later represented the Young Democrats of Georgia as National Committeeman from 2010-2011, and served as YDG President from 2011 to 2013.
As President, Louis instituted a statewide training program that trained hundreds of Young Dems across the state on valuable political skills and worked to place them on campaigns during the 2012 cycle. Louis and his team ran the program at a profit, and during his tenure as president, the Young Democrats of Georgia were not only completely debt-free but had two of their most successful fundraising cycles in years.
He obtained a degree in Political Science from the University of Georgia and worked as a legislative aide for the state House Democratic Caucus after graduating. He has managed five campaigns throughout Georgia, most recently winning two races during the 2012 election cycle: one for state House and the other for District Attorney, knocking out a Republican incumbent.
Louis lives and works in the Atlanta area, and cannot be reached during UGA football games.
SHAYNA DAITCH (OK), SECRETARY
Shayna Daitch served as the National Committeewomen for the Young Democrats of Oklahoma from 2011-13 and has been an appointed member of the DNC Youth Council since 2011.
Proud to be a Sooner, Daitch attended the University of Oklahoma where she studied International Security and served as president of the Hillel Jewish Student Organization. During her time in OU’s Student Government, she led the fight to change the University’s non-discrimination clause to add protections for LGBT students.
The daughter of an Air Force veteran and an Army veteran, Shayna got her start in politics in middle school, when her mother took her to volunteer for local candidates in Oklahoma City. Since then, she has volunteered on over 15 campaigns, interned for Brad Henry for Governor and Jari Askins for Governor, and worked on the campaigns for President Barack Obama and Senator Claire McCaskill doing field and digital outreach.
HUGO VELASTEGUI (DE), TREASURER
Hugo Velastegui has served as President of the Delaware Young Democrats since July 2012. He previously served as their National Committeeman, Vice President and Treasurer. Hugo also represented the Mid-Atlantic region on the YDA Budget Committee from 2011-13.
Hugo graduated from West Virginia University where he served as Vice President, Treasurer and liaison to the county committee for WVU Young Democrats. He holds a Masters degree in Secondary Education.
Hugo has lived in Wilmington, DE since 2001 and is a native of Brooklyn, NY. He is a Sales Analyst and a partner in two businesses.
MONTICA TALMADGE (NC), DNC COMMITTEWOMAN
Montica has been active in the North Carolina Democratic Party since 2004. Having been an active voter since the age of 18, Election Day is her second favorite day of the year. Montica has served at all levels of party leadership. She has been a Wake County Delegate to the Young Democrats State Convention since 2004, a member of the Wake County State Executive Committee Delegation since 2006, she has served as 3rd Vice Chair of the 2nd Congressional District, 3rd Vice Chair of the African-American Caucus of the North Carolina Democratic Party, A member of the Platforms and Resolutions Committee, a Delegate to the 2008, 2010 and 2012 North Carolina Democratic Party State Conventions and the North Carolina Delegation Chair to the Young Democrats of America National Convention in 2009, 2011 and 2013. She is an active member of the NCDP State Executive Council. Montica also served as the Chairwoman of the Standing Committee on Resolutions for the Young Democrats of America, giving her the distinction of being the first African American Woman to serve as the Chair of a Standing committee in the organizations history. In July 2012, she was elected the Democratic National Committeewoman of the Young Democrats of America, once again the first African-American Woman to hold that office as well. She was a member of the North Carolina delegation to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. Montica has also been featured as one of the young women to watch politically in the November issue of Essence Magazine
Outside of politics, Montica is an active member of Tupper Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh, NC as well as a number of other community groups and mentoring organizations. She is a regular contributor to the News 14 Carolina Political program, Capital Tonight. The quote that Montica lives by is by Albert Einstien’s “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile”
Montica is looking forward to realizing her dream and completing her education by studying for a Law Degree in the Fall of 2015.
MATT FRUTH (IL), DNC COMMITEEMAN
Matthew Fruth was elected DNC Committeeman of the Young Democrats of America at the organization’s 2012 conference in Philadelphia, PA.
Matt has most recently served as President of the Young Democrats of Illinois from 2011 to 2013 and as National Committeeman from 2009 to 2011.
Matt grew up in Oak Park, a suburb of Chicago and still lives there with his wife Erin. Matt is a graduate of Dominican University and currently works for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources as a Regional Economic Development Coordinator. Matt has recently begun his third term on the Oak Park Public Library Board of Trustees.
Matt got an early start to politics through family friendship with the late Senator Paul Simon, including traveling to Iowa in 1988 to help with Sen. Simon’s Presidential campaign. Matt returned 20 years later to be among the first canvassers for then Senator Barack Obama and seeing it through as GOTV Coordinator in Lehigh and Northampton Counties, PA. He has worked on numerous legislative, congressional, judicial and Presidential campaigns.