February 15, 2014
By Atima Omara & James Lewis
After months of repeal and replace rhetoric from Republicans on the Affordable Care Act with no replacement option, three Senators have finally broken the ice and shown America what Republicans would replace the plan with: more taxes.
Senators Burr (NC), Coburn (OK) and Hatch (UT) have authored the Patient Choice, Affordability, Responsibility and Empowerment (Patient CARE) Act — or GOPCare — claiming it is a better option.
This is the first time Republicans have offered a solution to the addressing America’s health that has been under repair since passage of the Affordable Care Act.
During her response to the president’s State of the Union, Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers agreed that the pre-Affordable Care Act days were a bad place to be: “No, we shouldn’t go back to the way things were.”
Instead, GOPCare offers a situation that is worse by raising the taxes of working Americans.
Read the full OpEd here.
Omara is the president of the Young Democrats of America. Lewis is the Young Democrats of America’s Issue Advocacy Director.
February 03, 2014
The Young Democrats of America marked the start of Black History Month by remembering the victories of the civil rights movement and the forward march to a “more perfect union.”
“As we begin African American history month, we pause to remember that we stand on the shoulders of giants as we pursue an America that lives up to its promise of delivering life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all,” said Atima Omara, President of the Young Democrats of America.
Omara is the organization’s first African American president and Montica Talmadge serves as the organization’s first African American woman to serve as YDA’s Democratic National Committewoman, one of the organization’s three official representatives to the DNC.
“While Atima and I have made organizational history, we remain committed to ensuring that everyone involved in the youth progressive movement can advance to our level, regardless of race,” noted Talmadge.
“The Young Democrats of America remain committed to protecting the right achieved by the civil rights movement, especially voting rights,” added Omara. “Currently, we are working to raise awareness and promote co-sponsorship of the Leahy/Sensenbrenner fix to the Voting Rights Act section ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court last year.”
The Young Democrats of America currently have an active petition advocating co-sponsorship that has reached more than 160 Members of Congress. The petition is active here.
January 30, 2014
By Michael Bronstein, Deputy Issue Advocacy Director
After a six month review, the Presidential Commission on Election Administration, co-chaired by President Obama’s election lawyer, Robert F. Bauer, and 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s election lawyer, Benjamin L. Ginsberg, has returned with recommendations to help improve the experience of voters.
Key recommendations include: continued expansion of online voter registration, improving access to the polls through the expansion of early in-person voting and the adoption of widely available technologies to help replace soon-to-be antiquated voting machines.
Young Democrats of America believes that these recommendations are a good start and intends to introduce additional reforms to encourage expanded voter access. At the Young Democrats of America Winter Meeting in Charleston, South Carolina, attendees will be asked to endorse the expansion of:
Early in-person voting
Vote by mail
“No excuse” absentee voting
Online voter registration
Legislation to study the feasibility of online voting
“Voting accessibility is fundamental to our democracy. By making voting as accessible as possible we encourage engagement,” said Atima Omara, President of the Young Democrats of America. “The future of voting is clearly about expanding access to the ballot box and prevent attempts to limit the voice of the American people.”
January 29, 2014
President Atima Omara joins The Big Picture with Thom Hartmann to preview the key points in the State of the Union including obstructionism in Congress, income inequality, comprehensive immigration reform and trade deals.
January 20, 2014
The Young Democrats of America, the nation’s largest youth political organization, remember Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the non-violent movement his legacy represented that enshrined greater legal equality in America.
“Today, we pause to remember the life, work and legacy of one of America’s greatest men and the millions of Americans that joined the movement he represented fighting for greater equality in America,” said Atima Omara, president of the Young Democrats of America. “However, we also pause to remember that Dr. King’s legacy and fight is not yet won and the remaining work is left to us to ensure that America’s promise is real to every American regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, religion, immigration or socio-economic status.”
As the Young Democrats of America mark Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, it has recommitted itself to pursuing the fight for greater equality in America by announcing its support of the Leahy/Sensenbrenner fix to the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Sign our letter telling your Senators and Congressperson to support Leahy/Sensenbrenner.
“Last year, the Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and several jurisdictions rushed to created unfair voting laws,” said Omara. “The Justice Department has led a strong effort to prevent these laws from limiting the vote of America’s more vulnerable communities but this problem needs a legislative fix.”
The Young Democrats of America also remain committed to advancing civil rights and equality.
January 20, 2014
President Atima Omara joined The Big Picture with Thom Hartmann to discuss new polling showing the young Americans are becoming more liberal and finding a home in the Democratic Party.
January 09, 2014
Today, Senate Democrats and six Republicans did their job and invoked cloture on a bill to extend the insurance. Immediately following that news, Speaker Boehner threw cold water on hope.
With House Democrats and the President demanding action, peeling off 18 Republicans for the bill should be easy but we need to keep up the pressure and demand action from our members of Congress.
Take a second to email your Congressman/Congresswoman and tell them to demand a vote on the extension on unemployment insurance.
Below is a sample letter for you to edit. It’s your Representative – tell them exactly how you feel!
Subject: I Want HR 3546 Passed
Honorable Representative –
I’m writing you today because it’s freezing outside, and more than a million Americans are about to be left out in the cold if unemployment insurance is not extended.
Slashing the only income left to millions of households will result in extensive economic stress to our fragile and recovering economy. In a time when the national unemployment average is floating around seven percent, and four times as many Americans are looking for a job than there are jobs available – we can’t do this to our economy.
Every household that loses income means lost income to the businesses and households that provide goods and services to that family. In turn, that lowers the income of those firms and households. It becomes a negative cycle that will break the foundations of our fledgling economic recovery.
As a constituent, I urge you to support the un-amended Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act (HR 3546), and pressure the leadership of your caucus to bring this measure to an immediate vote.
This is an important issue to me and my family, as well as millions of families across the country, and we will be considering this issue when we vote in November.
If you are currently a co-sponsor of this bill, I applaud your work and encourage you to reach across the aisle and bring your Republicans colleagues onto the bill as co-sponsors.
January 06, 2014
By Atima Omara
Before Christmas 2013, the House GOP refused to continue an extension of federal unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless. House Democrats wanted an extension while GOP members rebuked the notion citing American workers using it as a financial crutch. But with American workers, especially young workers, recovering from the ravages of the Great Recession, the GOP’s solution for those who can’t find jobs — to just go get jobs — is not only tone deaf but detrimental to the economic future of this country.
Unemployment rolls have dropped from over 10 percent to seven percent with new jobs appearing monthly, the GDP is growing, all is right with the world, right? Nope, not for young people.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) in a report in 2013 warned that unemployment is likely to stay above 7.5 percent through 2014. And it would be the sixth consecutive year with unemployment that high, “the longest such period in the past 70 years.” So while there is growth, the economy is not producing jobs fast enough to absorb the millions still looking for work. The U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee report warns of the dangers of this type of long-term unemployment including “lost wages, declining labor force participation, less consumption and a smaller tax base.” All this is terrible for American workers and the economy but if you are a young worker who never even got out the door to establish a career, it’s an even worse future.
Seven percent almost sounds great unless you are under 35. Demos completed a report in 2013 which states: The unemployment rate for 18-24 year olds is 16.2 percent, which is double the national average! The unemployment rate for 25-34-year-olds is near 10 percent. All in all, 18-34 year olds make up 45 percent of the nation’s unemployed not counting those who are “underemployed” by working low paying or part time jobs. The unemployment/underemployment percentage is even higher if you are a young person of color. The damage of the Great Recession for the next generation is real. According to a Pew Economic Research Center study, more than a third say they have gone back to school because of the bad economy; a quarter of young adults have moved back in with their parents after living on their own to save expenses; nearly a quarter have put off marriage and kids due to this economy.
Read the rest of the OpEd here.
December 27, 2013
By Steven Golden and Atima Omara
Politics is simple. It’s the means to effect change and ensure our values, democracy and freedoms exist for our generation and generations to come.
Atlanta is privileged to be represented by U.S. Rep. John Lewis, a great example of a lifetime of public service. Lewis began his decades-long career in politics at a young age and has served the people of Atlanta and America ever since.
He once said, “When I was 15 years old and in the 10th grade, I heard of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Three years later, when I was 18, I met Dr. King, and we became friends. Two years after that, I became very involved in the civil rights movement. I was in college at that time. As I got more and more involved, I saw politics as a means of bringing about change.”
This statement is a great example for all Atlantans, Georgians and Americans. Youth is not a limit to political involvement or inspiring change; youth is an asset!
Young Georgians know Democrats fight for them every day at every level of government. From student loan reform to job creation, and from marriage equality to health care reform, it has been the Democratic Party fighting for the next generation.
So why is youth political leadership so important in Georgia?
Georgia is an incredibly young state, and young voters are a huge voting bloc. Forty-six percent of Georgia’s electorate is under the age of 35 and, with more than 25 percent of Georgians under the age of 18, that number is positioned to grow in the future.
This year, Georgia’s young people have a great example of younger leaders taking strong positions and running for high office in state Sen. Jason Carter. At 39, Carter is still a Young Democrat who fights every day for the youngest Georgians in his unflinching advocacy for the HOPE Scholarship.
Carter is a great example to all Young Democrats. We have already seen increasing and more energized membership because he is engaging young voters and activists early in his campaign. However, our organization is not simply sitting on its hands until a great champion arises.
From college campuses like Young Harris to high schools in Bryan County and young professional clubs in Atlanta, the Young Democrats of Georgia is organizing young people to not only put Democrats in the Senate and governor’s office, but to build the framework for a bench of progressive leaders from the city council to the state Legislature.
Yes, this is hard work. It takes time. We are young, and a little hard work doesn’t scare us.
Steven Golden is president of the Young Democrats of Georgia, and Atima Omara is president of the Young Democrats of America.
Link to the original.
December 22, 2013
By Nicholas Holland
This week, U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Shelby struck down Utah’s anti-marriage equality law saying, “The state’s current laws deny its gay and lesbian citizens their fundamental right to marry and, in so doing, demean the dignity of these same-sex couples for no rational reason….Accordingly, the court finds that these laws are unconstitutional.”
The ruling came days after the New Mexico Supreme Court made New Mexico the 17th state to institute marriage equality.
Nate Silver’s projections for ballot measure supporting marriage equality in Utah was not projected to reach greater than fifty percent until 2020.
The case in Utah shows that the path to marriage equality is forked: the courts or public opinion. In the last decade, public opinion has significantly shifted with millennials reaching voting age and more Americans becoming comfortable with homosexuality through the example of out families and individuals.
Those of us in Utah are glad to see this happen but we are look forward to seeing marriage equality become a reality in the remaining 32 states.
Nicholas Holland (UT) is the Secretary/Treasurer of YDA’s Labor Caucus and serves on the Board of Directors of Equality Utah.