YDATL Blog NOTE: The opinions expressed by our individual bloggers are their own, and not necessarily those of Young Democrats of Atlanta.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Young Democrats in ’06: A+
While 2006 was a bad year for Georgia Democrats, it didn’t stop Georgia youth from making waves up and down the ballot. Your Daddy’s Democrats didn’t call all the shots this year, and the next generation of leaders started stepping up to the plate.
The first, and probably most obvious, area where young Democrats made their voices heard this year was on the blogosphere. Young people powered the explosion in popularity of blogs, so it’s no surprise that they eventually found their way into the world of political blogs and got noticed. Andre Walker is only the best example of young people attracting the notice of the staid political establishment and the media; Georgia Politics Unfiltered has been loved and hated in 2006, but it has been read like few other political blogs in Georgia. From Atlanta Public Affairs to the Dekalb Young Democrats (and, of course, this blog), young people have had an unprecedented platform to express their opinions and have been heard.
In addition to blogging, young people have gotten their hands dirty working on Democratic campaigns across the state. Virtually the entire Jim Martin campaign staff was composed of young people, with Jim’s children and Jane Bradshaw among many others helping to make the race against Casey Cagle unexpectedly close. Young Democrats also played crucial roles in the campaigns of Guy Drexinger, Mark Taylor, and Gail Buckner. The Young Democrats of Atlanta took a bold new approach to recruiting volunteers by focusing on Jan Hackney’s campaign for Georgia State House, district 48, and other metropolitan Young Democrats chapters, as well as the Young Democrats of UGA, set new standards for bringing young volunteers into the world of Democratic campaigns. Yellow Dog Consulting brought a healthy dose of youthful energy and determination to the sedate world of campaign consulting, and the Young Democrats of Georgia brought strategic vision to bear on reaching out to disaffected potential young voters.
Furthermore, Young Democrats have begun to find their way into party leadership. 2006 saw several Young Democrats of Atlanta elected as post seat holders in the Fulton County Democratic Party, and ex-president Page Gleason serves as executive director of the party. Other young people have found leadership positions and respect in the Democratic parties in Dekalb, Cobb, and Gwinnett counties. Tahir Duckett has ably served as field director for the Democratic Party of Georgia, and other young Democrats serve on the state Democratic committee. When decisions are made in our party, we young people have a voice!
Finally, young people placed themselves prominently on ballots across the state. Shyam Reddy ran a strong and well-funded campaign for Secretary of State, and other young people ran for numerous state house and senate seats. Young people already in office, including Representative Mike Jacobs, of the 80th district, and Alisha Thomas-Morgan, of the 39th district, held their seats easily and continue to bring a fresh new perspective to the state capitol to balance the experience and wisdom of our long-serving Democratic friends. A new generation of Democratic leadership is finally stepping into the spotlight – and the ride is just beginning.