By Micha Green, AFRO Washington, D.C. Editor, [email protected]
Young Washingtonians are working to get their community civically engaged and are holding an election on Jan. 31 to make sure their peers’ voices are heard.
From 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, the D.C. Young Democrats (DCYD) are welcoming any District registered voters ages 18-35 to vote in the DCYD bi-annual executive election. Positions on the ballot include: President, Executive Vice-President, Vice President of Administration and Finance, Vice President of Programs, Treasurer, Recording Secretary, Correspondence Secretary, National Committeeman and National Committeewoman.
Guests will be able to hear each candidate give brief speeches on their reasons for running and platforms, and can submit their ballots 6:15- 8 p.m. Ballots will not be accepted after 8 p.m. as DCYD will be working to tally and announce winners by 8:30 p.m.
Some notable young Black Democrats are running on the DCYD “Elevation” slate, including Marcus Goodwin, Spencer Gopaul, Sheika Reid and Brandon Frye. Council members Brandon Todd (D-4) and Robert White (D-At-large) endorsed the “Elevation” slate.
Goodwin, a District native who ran a celebrated campaign for an at-large seat on the D.C. Council, is running for DCYD President. While Goodwin didn’t win the election, as a new name to most District voters, major publications including The Washington Post and the AFRO endorsed the young politician.
Gopaul, is on the city’s African American Affairs Commission and works for the Department of General Services, essentially meaning he is part of ensuring a lot of District operations, such as snow plowing, happens. Also a D.C. native, Gopaul has been politically active and supportive of various young Democrats and campaigns in the past, and is now running for Executive Vice President of DCYD.
Brandon Frye, a native Washingtonian, is running for Vice President of Finance and Administration. A STEM teacher in Ward 8, Frye is has been civically engaged and is currently a member of the D.C. Statehood Democratic Committee.
Reid, another native Washingtonian is running for National Committeewoman. Some may remember Reid’s hard-fought campaign against Ward 1 City Council member Brianne Nadeau, who may have not won her a seat on the Council, but did earn some respect and notoriety in the city and even an endorsement from the AFRO.
“I’m running because I want to engage the next generation so that they’re adequately prepared to take up the mantle and run for office and support candidates who run for office. And that they are trained on how to properly lobby around issues that matter most in this generation,” she told the AFRO.
Some of the issues Reid and the other members on the Elevation slate are advocating for include: D.C. statehood, student debt relief, criminal justice reform, safer streets for bikers and pedestrians, voter turnout, training candidates and staffers, community land trusts, fair and progressive taxes and overall elevation of the DCYD’s profile.
Other candidates include, Jatarius Frazier (President); Jennifer Blemur (Executive Vice President); Zachary Israel and DeAnzlo Johnson (National Committeeman); Dana Hall (National Committeewoman); Jamaal Burton (Vice President of Administration and Finance); Corina Hernandez (Treasurer); Hillary Allen, Katie Breslin, Jackie Lewinthal and Benjamin Scott (Vice President of Programs) and Andrew Haynesworth (Correspondence Secretary). The position for Recording Secretary is still open for a write-in ballot.
Reid explained it’s important for young voters to come out for Thursday’s vote in order to make sure their voices are heard beyond DCYD, and can be taken right to Capitol Hill.
“We should be able to reach out to some of the Senators and Congress members that are here and lobby and be invested in the impactful legislation that’s impacting us the most,” Reid told the AFRO.