December 05, 2013
Atima Omara, President of the Young Democrats of America, issued the following statement on the passing of Nelson Mandela:
“Today, the Young Democrats of America pause to remember a leader whose message of freedom and equality transcends race, age or national borders,” said Omara”We are greatly saddened by his passing but he lived a tremendous life to the benefit of others and to the great sacrifice of himself. But he continued to fight with the belief that a nation stands at its greatest height when it stands for equality, fairness, justice and opportunity for all.”
“Mandela began his political activism as a young man and stands as an example for all that one person, regardless of age or status can do to change the arc of history,” added Omara.
November 13, 2013
Marriage equality continues to make progress across the country, with 15 states now recognizing marriage equality, and Illinois is set to become the 16th on November 20th. There has been activity in 3 states recently on this issue that are detailed below:
The state legislature in Hawaii voted to approve same-sex marriage in early November, passing the Hawaiian House in a vote of 30-19. The Hawaiian State Senate later voted to approve the legislation 19-4.
The amendment to the Hawaiian constitution “recognizes marriages between individuals of the same-sex,” and “extends to same-sex couples the same rights, benefits, protections, and responsibilities of marriage that opposite-sex couples receive.”
Governor Neil Abercrombie (D-HI) signed the legislation into law on Wednesday, November 13, making Hawaii the 15th state to legalize same-sex marriage. “In Hawaii, we believe in fairness, justice and human equality,” Abercrombie said. “Today, we celebrate our diversity defining us rather than dividing us.”
Thousands of individuals are expected to visit Hawaii as early as December 2 when the state officially recognizes same-sex marriage.
The state legislature in Illinois voted to approve same-sex marriage on November 2, passing the Illinois Senate in a vote of 32-21. The Illinois House of Representatives later voted to approve the legislation 61-54.
The amendment to the Illinois Constitution will make all laws within the state applicable to marriage apply ‘equally to marriages of same-sex and different sex couples and their children’, creating the same benefits and protections currently offered to heterosexual couples to all individuals regardless of sexual orientation.”
Governor Pat Quinn (D-IL) announced that he will sign the legislation into law on November 20, legalizing same-sex marriage in the state. “Illinois passing marriage equality into law sends a great signal to the people of our state and the people of America.”
Currently, marriage equality is scheduled to start in Illinois in June 2014.
The Garden State became the 14th to legally recognize same-sex marriage on October 21 following the decision of a Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson.
“This unequal treatment requires that New Jersey extend civil marriage to same-sex couples to satisfy equal protection guarantees of the New Jersey Constitution as interpreted by the New Jersey Supreme Court in Lewis,” Jacobson wrote. “Same-sex couples must be allowed to marry in order to obtain equal protection of the law under the New Jersey Constitution.”
Governor Chris Christie (R) announced that he would challenge the decision of the court, but a stay was refused by the state’s Supreme Court.
Then Newark Mayor and now-U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D) was the first to officiate a same-sex ceremony at 12:01 a.m on October 21.
November 12, 2013
Last weekend, over 150 Young Democrats from around the country gathered in Seattle, Washington, for the first National Conference of the 2013-15 biennium. This was YDA’s first event on the West Coast since February 2008.
The conference kicked off Friday night with a welcome reception at the Westin Seattle, the conference’s host hotel, featuring special guests King County Executive Dow Constantine and Washington Democratic Party Executive Director Jaxon Ravens. This was the only event scheduled Friday to allow travelers from around the country plenty of time to arrive in Seattle.
Saturday morning featured a “Wake Up for the Environment” breakfast sponsored by the Washington Conservation Voters. Conference attendees learned about WCV’s efforts to keep massive coal trains from rolling through towns throughout the Pacific Northwest so the coal can be loaded on ships for export to Asia. Also on Saturday morning, former Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire and her daughter, Seattle Port Commissioner Courtney Gregoire addressed the meeting of YDA’s Women’s Caucus, an all-start team of Washington political consultants gave a training on campaigns and elections, and the leaders of the Ref. 74 campaign which saw Washington become the first state to affirm marriage equality at the ballot box talked about their success story and how it can translate to other states.
Saturday afternoon included a political communication training by veteran consultant Jennifer Crider, a panel discussion on the legalization of marijuana in Washington through Initiative 502 featuring King County Sheriff John Urquhart and Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes, a “power hour” of training on building a social movement for change, and a transportation and urban planning panel. The day ended with meetings of YDA’s regional caucuses.
Seattle’s longtime congressman U.S. Rep Jim McDermott was the keynote speaker for Sunday morning’s general session. The meeting concluded around 1 PM Pacific time allowing conference attendees time to head for the airport.
The meeting was entirely revenue neutral and attended by a record-breaking number of attendees. If you could not attend, we hope to see you next time!
November 01, 2013
This week 35 years ago, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act passed in order to protect women in the workplace. This week should be a celebration of how far we’ve come, with both workers and women’s rights, but also a time to reflect and examine the work still left to be done. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act does not protect pregnant women who are fired, forced to take leave, or quit when they require temporary accommodations to ensure the safety of themselves, their child, co-workers or customers.
As a new mother and a working woman, I feel blessed and privileged to have been able to continue to play both roles without risking personal or professional sacrifice. However, this should not be seen as a privilege for women, but a right, not only as a worker but a human being. Congress has recently been presented with the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which would protect women from key types of workplace discrimination that the Pregnancy Discrimination Act failed to address. Unfortunately, the P.W.F.A is not receiving the support needed to pass in Congress. The days where women were forced to choose between being a mother or having a career have long passed, and our laws and policies need to be updated.
As the young leaders of this country, it is our responsibility to place the highest priority on issues concerning human rights and equality. I encourage you to support the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act in any way you can until a change has been made to ensure the protection of our working women.
- Erin Carlstrom,
Executive Vice President, Young Democrats of America
October 16, 2013
Newark Mayor Cory Booker has achieved a decisive 11 point victory tonight in the special election to succeed the late Senator Frank Lautenberg in representing New Jersey in the U.S. Senate.
The fact that Booker’s victory comes on the same night that the GOP-lead House of Representatives finally allowed a vote on a bill to re-open the government and raise the debt ceiling shows exactly why Booker was the superior choice to his GOP-Tea Party backed opponent Steve Lonegan.
YDA congratulates Senator-elect Booker and looks forward to his leadership in Washington.
October 01, 2013
What Young People Need to Know about the Affordable Care Act
Disclaimer: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and its accompanying regulations are a complex systems designed to improve the quality and access of healthcare in America. This document is designed to answer basic questions but each case is unique.
What is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act?
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has completely overhauled the insurance system in America and thereby saved money for Americans while ensuring increased coverage for all.
Is the Affordable Care Act still the law?
Yes, the Affordable Care Act is still law. The Supreme Court ruled that the law was Constitutional and will be fully implemented starting January 1st, 2014.
Does the Affordable Care Act mean that I need to purchase insurance?
Yes, it is necessary that everyone purchase insurance under the Affordable Care Act to prevent undo burden on fellow taxpayers, the medical system and personal long-term debt. There are some individuals that are except from the program. See Kaiser Family Foundation’s chart to see if you can obtain an exception.
September 25, 2013
When talking to my fellow high school students and attempting to persuade them to register to vote for the first time, I’m often faced with the question, “Why should I?”. No matter how many times I’m asked it, I’m still usually somewhat unable to answer it fully, not because I do not have an answer, but because the answer I have is far too long.
Voting, and the necessary precursor (unless you’re in North Dakota) of registering to vote, is our responsibility as citizens of this great nation. Around the world, people are literally dying as they fight to receive the rights, not the least of which is the right to vote, that so many of us take for granted. However, I feel confident in saying that all eligible YDA members are already registered to vote; that’s where this responsibility goes a step further. For us, the civic duty of registering our self to vote expands into a duty to ensure that our peers register as well.
However, more than a civic duty, voter registration efforts make campaign sense for us as Democrats. We’ve heard the mantra again and again –“When young people vote, Democrats win.” – and we’ve seen the statistics proving it to be true, most notably in 2008 and 2012. While young voters did support President Obama over Mitt Romney by a 23-point margin (60% to 37%) and that is something to be proud of, we must also consider and address the unpleasant fact that only 45% of Americans aged 18-29 voted. Could we have won even more races if the turnout had been closer to the 61% turnout of those 65 and older? So, forget everything else you know about campaigns – GOTV, Voter ID, Persuasion, Canvassing–just for a moment, and consider how crucial voter registration is to every campaign effort you’ve led, staffed, or volunteered on. Voter registration is the foundation upon which all other aspects of campaigns are based on so, especially in what is a non-election year for most of the country, it is a natural focus for us as Young Democrats.
Nicholas Mitch (IN) is Chair of YDA’s High School Caucus
September 23, 2013
Since coming home from San Antonio, YDA’s High School Caucus has been pushing, planning, and promoting programs and events for High School and Young Democrats to take part in all over the nation.
Now, we’re excited to invite you to participate in our most exciting venture yet: our National Voter Registration Week of Action. In their schools and home towns, High School Democrats across the county are working hard and utilizing their leadership skills to host a National Voter Registration Week of Action. With meticulous planning and organizing, we see this event being our most successful week of action to date, however, we can only achieve this expected amazing turnout with your help. Combining your guidance and the dedication of every High School Caucus member, we know that our volunteers will report record breaking numbers.
Learn more at http://hsdems.org/voterreg/
September 19, 2013
The far right of the House GOP is trying to starve working class Americans, people with disabilities, children and the elderly.This summer, they prevented the “must-pass” Farm Bill from including funding for the federal government’s program to prevent hunger called SNAP. Now, Republicans are trying to cut $40 billion
from the program over the next decade.
According to the nonpartisan number crunchers at the Congressional Budget Office, these cuts mean 14 million Americans will lose food help and go hungry.
Who gets this help?
- 8.9 million households with kids
- 2.9 million households with seniors
- 3.6 million households with a disabled person
Our Democrats are trying to fight back. Rep. Jim McGovern of Massachusetts and 137 other Members have co-sponsored House Resolution 90 saying that Congress shouldn’t cut hunger assistance programs.
What can you do?
Join us in telling Congress to vote down Rep. Frank Lucas’s bill and help keep 14 million Americans fed.
Since the House is moving quickly on this bill, we need to pick up the phones! Dial the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask for your Member’s office. Not sure who your Member is after redistricting? Find out here.
Tell them you are a constituent and you’d like to speak with the LA managing agricultural and food assistance programs.
When you talk to the LA, say: “I do not support HR 3102 because it will make millions of American seniors, children, disabled persons and working class individuals hungry. This is America and no one should be hungry.” Then ask them to recommend that your Member co-sponsor House Resolution 90, if they haven’t.
Together we can send a strong message to Congress that we don’t want to see 14 million Americans go hungry!
Democratically yours –
President of the Young Democrats of America
September 18, 2013
I am proud to announce that the application for the Young Democrats of America Presidential Appointments is now open!
The true strength of YDA is our membership and these appointed positions offer members the opportunity to bring their skills and expertise to the highest levels of political action. As the largest partisan youth organization in the country, YDA is expected to lead on progressive issues that affect young people and the future of our country.
In order to do this, we need the best people working alongside the elected leaders of YDA to ensure that every opportunity to move America forward is met and YDA is part of meeting it. I hope you will consider applying for a position and forward this application to anyone you think would be qualified and an asset to YDA.
Apply at http://www.yda.org/appointments
Democratically Yours –
Young Democrats of America