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'Victory Together' for the Michigan Young Democrats!

by: Michael McGuinness

Mon Jan 08, 2007 at 05:42:40 AM EST

(As netroots activists, we have a responsibility to move our party into the 21st Century. By pushing for positive reforms from the "inside," we can help to strengthen our party and maintain our winning coalitions. As the next generation of progressive activists, young Democrats are ideally suited to modernize the Democratic infrastructure. Regardless of whether you support the "Victory Together" slate or not, this is a discussion that must take place. - promoted by nirmal)

This is Michael McGuinness writing. As you may have already seen on this site, the Michigan Young Democrats convention will be taking place on January 27 in Detroit. At this convention, the election of officers will take place.

With three weeks to go, I wanted to make sure I shared with you that I am seeking the position of Michigan Young Democrats President.

It is with honor and excitement that I do so as a part of the 'Victory Together' Slate. This strong slate is also comprised of Maralyn O'Brien, Kwame Finn and Jeff Perry for the positions of Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer, respectively. Our support is broad based, active and energized.

The opportunity for growth within the Michigan Young Democrats is vast and, moreover, the opportunity for MYD to help strengthen our party and candidates overall is vast. We cannot squander this potential for yet another election cycle (and a pivotal cycle, at that).

In the spirit of 'the more information, the merrier'I have included some background about the Victory Together Slate candidates and a bit about our aim in the Extended Text.

Michael McGuinness :: 'Victory Together' for the Michigan Young Democrats!

For President:
Michael McGuinness

Currently I am an Officer-At-Large of the Oakland County Democratic Party. In the past, I've served as Treasurer of the Michigan Federation of College Democrats (twice elected), as well as Co-President of the College Democrats at Oakland University.

Also on the campus of Oakland University, I was twice elected Student Body President. In that capacity I was the chief advocate and spokesperson for our 17,000-plus students.

I am, of course, a proud member of the Michigan Democratic Party and have been a Precinct Delegate for the past two election cycles. During the 2004 elections, I was a Regional Organizer in the City of Detroit for the Coalition for a Fair Michigan, working to defeat Proposal 2.

In this past election cycle, I was the Campaign Manager for Mark Slavens for State Senate. Although outspent over 10 to 1 by our Republican incumbent opponent and not a top targeted seat, we captured 49% of the vote. For the Michigan Young Democrats, my experience with grassroots-powered campaign activities can help us best utilize our people-driven skills.

22 years old, I'm a resident of South Lyon in Oakland County. Additionally, I'm a member of the LGBT Community.

For Vice President:
Maralyn O'Brien

Maralyn is currently an Organizer with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). In 2005, she was Deputy Director for the fundraising campaign of the Michigan Democratic Party.

A graduate of Albion College, Maralyn was President of the Albion College Democrats while there. She helped lead the organization to great successes, including hosting both the Michigan Young Democrats and the-then Michigan College Democrats on Albion's campus in 2005.

Her activism on behalf of the Michigan Democratic Party and its candidates does not stop there, however, as she played a key role in the coordinated campaign efforts during the 2004 cycle in the Albion region.

21 years old, Maralyn is a resident of Canton Township in Wayne County. Member of the Asian-American Community. Also on a personal note, she is married to an enlisted member of the military who is serving overseas.

For Secretary:
Kwame Finn

Currently, Kwame works in the Wayne County Administration under County Executive Robert Ficano. He is a Deputy of one of the children's service divisions.

In the past, Kwame has served in the line of duty as a police officer for the City of Detroit. Kwame clearly brings a dynamic professional background to the table.

A proud member of the Michigan Democratic Party, Kwame has been active in city and county politics for a long time. Additionally, he is the nephew of high-profile Democrat Benny Napoleon.

28 years old, Kwame is a resident of Detroit; he is a member of the African-American Community.

For Treasurer:
Jeff Perry

A veteran member of the Michigan Young Democrats, Jeff has been active in the organization for many years. He is a Graduate Student at Western Michigan University, where he also received his undergraduate education.

While there, Jeff has served as President of the Western Michigan University College Democrats. He has also been President of the Calhoun County Young Democrats in the past.

Jeff currently sits on the Kalamazoo County Democratic Party Executive Committee. During the 2000 elections, he served as State Representative Sandy Lipsey's Campaign Manager.

29 years old, Jeff is a resident of Kalamazoo; this is a noteworthy aspect of the slate, seeing as how the western part of our state has been underrepresented at the MYD table recently. 


V -- Visibility:

Both within and outside the party structure, we as young Democrats can and must be visible and play a prominent role. The candidates and issues of the Democratic Party stand to benefit greatly when we are in a position to deliver our party message and advocate for our candidates. On that note, we must uphold our credibility both within and outside the party structure to be in such a position.

Also, we must employ tactics to be visible within the 15 to 35 year old sphere, such as dynamic facebook.com and myspace.com groups and profiles -- these visibility measures will also aid in communication and mobilization. A tangible goal is to have 2,008 members of a global 'Michigan Young Democrats' facebook group by the 2008 election, who will all be receiving useful, motivating information through the medium.

I -- Inclusive Communication:

A key component of our activities is essentially getting information to young Democrats, be it about party opportunities or volunteer needs or issue talking points. With that in mind, we must inclusively communicate with as wide of a cast net as possible; this aspect of improved communication obviously interrelates with thorough membership. Inclusive communication has been lacking in recent years.

A specific goal is to initiate a consistent member update that relays what we are up to and what is on the horizon. Similarly, our organization website will provide useful resources and timely information on a regular basis. Branching out to receptive forums, such as Michigan Liberal, is a stellar opportunity that should not be neglected.

C  -- Community & Campus Activism: 

Our organization and our party as a whole must seek out those youths who are naturally aligned with our purpose; to boost membership and bring dynamic activists and new leaders, we can gain by being directly accessible. Accordingly, we aim to collaborate with allied organizations and youth to mutually grow and aid our communities. 

In line with this thread, we shall not consider the college campus neither inhospitable nor an off-limits opportunity for growth and cooperation; college Democrats are major allies that have unfortunately been overlooked, in many respects.

T -- Thorough Membership:

There is a large, untapped field of Democrats between the ages of 15 and 35 and, for that matter, an untapped field of youth who are receptive to our party and its message who have not been presented with adequate opportunities to join the fold.

By the 2008 general election, we shall make it a goal to reach the level of 2008 individual members; the organization's current numbers are in the low hundreds, which is disheartening. This thorough membership roster will provide our organization with the people power to substantively impact elections on all levels in support of Democrats.

O -- Organizational Transparency & Continuity: 

In order to have as strong of a Michigan Young Democrats as possible, there must be transparency and consistency to our processes. A key example would be the election of officers, or the filing of campaign finance items. While straightforward, the organization is in need of greater transparency to ensure fair and smooth elections. It must similarly be a goal to avoid ever paying penalty fines for late campaign filings.

The organization has repeatedly had to regroup and rebuild after election cycles, or new leadership, due to poor transition of information and leadership. In order to build upon past successes, we must bolster our transition efforts for the organization.

R -- Regional Strength: 

Making it a goal to have active, recognized chapters in each of Michigan's congressional districts by the end of 2008; currently less than one fifth of congressional districts have such a presence.

In addition to that particular goal, the similar goal of expanding the number of recognized chapters in general needs to be kept in mind; the current minimal number limits our organization's effectiveness. While we recognize there are unique challenges in various corners of our state, we must make strides in the positive direction by flexibly adapting to varying regional conditions.

Y -- Youth Campaigns:

The Michigan Young Democrats must do better at directly helping our party's candidates and causes. Democratic nominees for various offices who are within the 18 to 35 age range can and should receive heightened attention and priority from our organization.

If any elected or appointed officer of the organization is to seek public office higher than Precinct Delegate, however, they should resign their position in order to seek the nomination for that office. This is an important goal in order to regain our organization's credibility.

In conclusion...

I respectfully ask for your support and your assistance of our 'Victory Together' efforts. If you are a Michigan Young Democrat, ages 15 to 35, we ask for your vote. If you are a Michigan Young Democrat in spirit and not in age, then we ask for you to spread the word and assist in other positive ways.

Thank you very much for your time -- if you have any questions, please let us discuss!

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From the other side...
Now we need to hear from the other side. I encourage anyone involved within the current MYD leadership to speak up, along with any other slates that may be taking a run.

I want to change the world, not help people adjust to it. - Millie Jeffrey, MI - National Women's labor and Democratic activist, Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient

Agreed. (n/t)

Great Lakes, Great Times.

[ Parent ]
You got my vote!
But you already knew that:).

Hey, thank you good sir!
I didn't already know that -- I'm humbled to read it, though! So I take it that you'll be attending the convention on the 27th? What e-mail address can I use to keep you up to date?

Great Lakes, Great Times.

[ Parent ]
LL's got it.
She'll give it to you.  I don't want to post it on here.

[ Parent ]
If I weren't too old to join the Michigan Young Dems
you'd have my vote, Mike!

Thank you very much, Sharon!
That is phenomenal to hear -- do you suppose you could pass along the Michigan Young Democrats convention information to the former Nancy Skinner crew?

Thank you again for the well wishes! Hope this snow isn't too much of a burden in your corner of Oakland County.

Great Lakes, Great Times.

[ Parent ]
It was coming down pretty hard, but the sun was out a little while ago
Now it's just cloudy, but no more snow.  Hope to see you at the OCDP exec committee meeting tomorrow night. I assume Team Skinner will be there.  I'll send a link to this thread to Jordan (who I'm sure will see it anyway) and Kevin.  I don't have current e-mail addresses for the others.

[ Parent ]
I take it back -- it's snowing again!

[ Parent ]

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