The 2018 Midterm Elections are now fully behind us, and attention is already being turned to the 2020 election cycle. However, before we fully move on, it's important to look back on all that was accomplished. We may not have had the success we were looking for at the top of the ticket, but voter suppression tactics that denied us the Governor's Mansion weren't enough to dampen the results here in DeKalb.
Coming in to the midterm's, DeKalb County had three remaining Republican-held state legislative seats in the northern part of the county. DYD committed fully to helping turn these seats Blue, and every weekend that wasn't spent canvassing for Stacey Abrams and our statewide candidates was spent trying to flip those seats. After Election Day, the results were clear, and SD40, HD79, and HD80 had all been flipped! We enter 2019 with a fully Democratic State Legislative Delegation here in DeKalb County, making DeKalb truly the vanguard for Democratic efforts in the state of Georgia, and ensuring that DYD will continue to play a pivotal role in Democratic efforts here in Georgia for years to come.
At December's Monthly Meeting, we heard from Rep. Dar'shun Kendrick about the upcoming legislative session. We also took time to thank the legislative leaders who will not be returning, including Rep. Howard Mosby. We thank him for his years of service to the county and wish him best of luck on his future endeavours.
Our next meeting will be January 16th at 7:00 pm at the Avondale Pizza Cafe. This will be an important meeting, as we will be electing our officers for the upcoming year. This includes an election for President, as our President for the past two years, John Jackson, will not be standing for re-election as he moves on to his new role as 2nd Vice Chair of the DeKalb County Democratic Central Committee. We welcome all returning members, as well as any new members who have paid dues before that meeting, to attend and take part as we position our club with new leadership for the upcoming year.
DeKalb Young Democrats are committed to being the "crest of the blue wave" both in DeKalb and for all of Georgia. To that end, we are announcing our official club canvassing schedule for between Sept. 1st up until the weekend before Election Day. We're looking at the top of the ticket, ballotwide efforts, as well as flipable districts here in the county. Note that specific dates are subject to change. Continue to check with us here and on our Facebook page for updates.
June's meeting centered upon the idea of activism, canvassing, and GOTV to enable the Blue Wave we're all working towards for November. To that end, the June meeting on the 20th actually began with 30 minutes of Phonebanking to young people in DeKalb County, targeting folks identified as Democratic voters in this past May's Primary contest. They were simply encouraged to check out the DYD website or FB page and look for ways to get involved in GOTV activities this Summer and Fall.
On the candidate front, DYD once again showed it's drawing power. First on the docket was Richard Keatley, candidate for Labor Commissioner. Richard has come to DYD meeting on numerous occasions and is truly considered a friend of the club at this point. We then heard from Mike Wilensky, who is running to flip a House seat from Republican (and has a great shot since the seat is being vacated by the incumbent) in North DeKalb. We also heard from El-Mahdi Holly, who spoke on numerous topics, including his own run in HD 111, as well as serving as a surrogate for State Superintendent Candidate Otha Thornton. We also heard from Tunde Akinyele, candidate for Superior Court Judge in DeKalb County. Finally, we heard from CD6 candidate Lucy McBath, a national spokeswoman for Moms Demand Action and a tireless advocate for gun regulations.
The big call to action came from guest Anoa Changa, activist and Cities Electoral Manager for Democracy for America. She spoke about the importance of not shying away from difficult conversations within the Party as we look to build a winning coalition for November. We also heard from Susan Motter, who encouraged more young people to come get involved with the League of Women Voters.
Stay tuned for major announcements in the next month, including our DYD Blue Wave Day of Action Calendar, which will include Days of Action for numerous candidates and campaigns from July - November.
Don't forget that Primary Runoff Election Day is July 24th.
On Wednesday, May 23rd, DeKalb Young Democrats took some time to process the Primary Election results from the day before. Helping us lead that discussion of GA Sen. Minority Leader Steve Henson, who himself was victorious in a close and hard-fought election. He talked about the results, but focused on the importance of keeping our feet to the pedal going into the Summer and Fall to make sure we finish what we've started in November.
We were also joined by Lorraine Cochran-Johnson, candidate for DeKalb Commission Super District 7. Ms. Cochran-Johnson will be in a runoff with incumbent Commissioner Gregory Adams. That Runoff Election will be held on July 24th.
Our next meeting will be June 20th, 2018. In the meantime, feel free to reach out to us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you're looking for ways to get plugged into our canvassing and GOTV efforts that we'll be ramping up in the coming months.
Last night, DYD moved from our normal meeting space at Avondale Pizza Cafe (construction) to My Parent's Basement across the street. The night started off hearing from several local and Congressional candidates, including: Mike Wilensky (candidate for HD79), Becky Evans (candidate for HD82), Steven Knight Griffin (candidate for Congressional District 6), and reps for John Noel (candidate for Public Service Commission) and Tunde Kinyele (candidate for DeKalb County Superior Court Judge, who himself later appeared at the meeting).
As the main event, we then heard from three Statewide candidates, two of whom have no primary races and will be our General Election candidates in the Fall. The speakers were Fred Swan (Democratic candidate for Agriculture Commissioner in November), Charlie Bailey (Democratic candidate for Attorney General in November), and Sarah Riggs Amico (Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor in this May's Primary Election). It was a great opportunity for the audience to ask questions of the candidates, and evidence that we have some great folks appearing on the ballot this Fall.
Two quick updates:
February's meeting featured a bounty of speakers. We had candidates like former Congressman John Barrow, candidate for GA Secretary of State, and Richard Keatley, candidate for Labor Commissioner. We had members from other Young Dem chapters from around the state stumping for offices at the upcoming Young Democrats of Georgia convention. Lastly, we had a South Fulton Councilman Khalid Kamau talk to the room about holding our own party to higher standards, and then truly shaking up the room with a surprise endorsement of GA Gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.
Don't forget that in March, we will be moving our monthly meeting up by one week to March 14th, as to better prepare for the Young Democrats of Georgia State Convention in Cobb County.
After being briefly moved back a week due to inclement weather, DeKalb Young Dems met on January 24th at Avondale Pizza Cafe in Avondale Estates, Ga.
The first order of business was the election of officers for upcoming year. The following slate was approved unanimously be the membership in attendance:
January was another packed house, but we hope to see YOU there this coming February 21st. Stay tuned for details on location and speakers.
Maria Banjo is giving a presentation on sexual misconduct in politics. This problem is out of control and must be addressed.
Former Congressman John Barrow will also be joining us to talk about his candidacy for Secretary of State and his career in politics.
We will also be having elections for the DeKalb Young Democrats board and will be taking nominations from the floor.
For those interested in voting and/or running for a position on the DYD Board, here are the relevant rules from our By-Laws:
Section 1. Election of officers shall be held at an annual elections meeting in January. All terms are for one year.
Section 2. Election of officers shall occur in the following order: President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary.
Section 3. Officers must be elected by 50% + 1 of the eligible voters attending the elections meeting. An eligible voter shall be any member who has paid dues prior to the convening of the elections meeting. In the event that no candidate achieves majority in the first balloting, a run-off balloting shall be held between the two candidates who received the largest numbers of votes.
Section 1. The elected officers of the DeKalb County Young Democrats shall be President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer.
Section 2. Powers and Duties of the President.
The President shall:
Be the chief administrative officer of the DeKalb County Young Democrats.
Encourage and direct participation of members in YDG and local and statewide senior Democratic Party activities.
Represent the DeKalb Young Dems to the YDG Regional Director.
Serve as delegation chair of the DeKalb Young Dems delegation to the State YDG Convention.
Direct the implementation of policies adopted and authorized by the DeKalb Young Dems membership.
Represent DeKalb Young Dems to the public.
Appoint officers, standing and ad-hoc committees, and directors of such committees as s/he sees fit, except where such appointments would infringe upon the powers accorded other officers herein.
Be an ex-officio member of all committees.
All expenditures will be paid for by the Treasurer, unless he/she is unavailable and then the President will complete the expenditure. All expenditures MUST be approved by at least one other board member in writing AND be represented in the current year budget. Any expenditures not represented in the budget MUST be approved by at least three board members and added to the current year budget.
Have the power to appoint a Chief of Staff, not subject to Executive Board approval, to assist the President in the execution of his or her duties.
Report on his or her activities at each DeKalb Young Dems meeting.
Section 3. Powers and Duties of the Vice President.
The Vice President shall:
Assist the President in the performance of the President’s duties.
Serve as President Pro-Tempore in the event of the President’s absence.
Be chiefly responsible for new membership recruitment, particularly among women and diverse groups.
Have the power to appoint a Recruiting Committee, which he or she will chair, to assist with recruitment duties.
Perform other duties as assigned by the President or DeKalb Young Dems membership.
Section 4. Powers and Duties of the Treasurer.
The Treasurer shall:
Maintain records of all receipts and disbursements of funds of the organization in accordance with all Georgia local, state, and federal laws and regulations.
Write checks and make deposits as directed by the Executive Board.
Not have the power to make financial transactions without the approval of one member of the Executive Board.
Report all financial activity at each DeKalb Young Dems meeting. Shall keep all organizational financial records in balance.
Be responsible for the presentation of new revenue enhancement project ideas and coordination of fundraising projects and events.
Have the power to appoint a Fundraising Committee, which he or she will chair, to assist with fundraising duties.
Have the power to appoint a Fundraising Director, subject to Executive Bard approval.
File all Public Disclosure Commission reports with the assistance of the Vice President as needed.
Perform other duties as assigned by the President or DeKalb Young Dems membership.
Section 5. Powers and Duties of the Secretary.
The Communications Director shall:
Record and distribute accurate minutes of all general and Executive Board meetings in a timely manner.
Send notification of regular and special DeKalb Young Dems meetings.
Maintain all organizational files and records, including an accurate membership directory, in a safe and orderly manner.
Assure publicity (distribution of press releases, fliers, and posters) prior to DeKalb Young Dems events.
Serve as Editor-in-Chief of the DeKalb Young Dems newsletter or appoint another individual Editor, subject to Executive Board approval.
Have the power to appoint a Publicity Committee, which he or she shall chair, to assist with publicity duties.
Perform other duties as assigned by the President and DeKalb Young Dems membership.
Section 6. If any DeKalb Young Dems officer fails to attend two consecutive DeKalb Young Dems meetings without being excused, such action will be considered an official act of resignation.
Section 7. A vacancy in the office of President shall be filled by the Vice President at the meeting following the confirmation of the vacancy.
Section 8. Vacancies in all other offices as defined in Article III shall be filled by special election at the meeting immediately following the confirmation of a vacancy. The DeKalb Young Dems President may appoint an interim officer, subject to Executive Board approval, to perform the duties of the office until a special election can be held.
Section 1. The following constitutes the voting membership of the DeKalb County Young Democrats Executive Board: President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary.
Section 2. Any member in good standing of DeKalb Young Dems holding a position on the YDG Executive Board or the YDA National Committee shall be an ex-officio, non-voting member of the DeKalb Young Dems Executive Board. Chapter members who hold elective office in Democratic Party legislative district, county, congressional district, state, or national Committees shall similarly enjoy ex-officio Executive Board membership.
Section 3. The Executive Board shall meet at the call of the President at least once per month.
Section 4. At least seven days’ written notice of an Executive Board meeting shall be given to each Executive Board member, including ex-officio members. Such notice shall include, time, date, and location.
Section 5. The Executive Board shall function principally as the DeKalb Young Dems Standing Committee on Planning, concentrating upon the following areas: Oversight of all organizational activities; planning of funding and expenditures of all activities, both specific and discretionary; and membership outreach and recruitment.
Section 6. All decisions made by the Executive Board are considered recommendations to the DeKalb Young Dems membership, and must be ratified by the membership at the next general DeKalb Young Dems meeting prior to any official public action being taken.
Last night, Dec. 5th, saw success across the boards for Democrats in the Runoff elections held in Metro Atlanta. In particular, one Young Dem claimed her space in the Georgia Assembly.
The headline race in the area was the Atlanta Mayoral race, a "non-partisan" race, where Democrat Keisha Lance Bottoms edged out Independent Mary Norwood for the top spot. The race is currently close enough that a recount is likely to be mounted, but for now, Bottoms has declared victory. In State Senate District 6, two Democrats had already sealed the fate of that seat flipping from Republican to Democrat (and breaking the Republican Super-majority in the Senate in the process), and last night Democrat Jen Jordan decisively won the seat. Former Young Georgia Democrat of the Year in 2009, Nikema Williams, also won her race for State Senate District 39.
For Young Democrats in the area, one of the highlight races was State House District 89. The race, which was filling the vacated seat of former House Minority Leader and current Gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, actually featured two Young Democrats, Sachin Varghese and Bee Nguyen. Ms. Nguyen, who spoke at the DeKalb Young Dems November meeting last month, ended the night with the victory. She now heads to the Golden Dome to represent her district while also becoming the first Vietnamese-American elected to the Georgia Assembly. Congratulations to Bee and her team, which was almost entirely made up of Young Dems from the Metro region!
Another Young Dem shoutout goes to Dustin Hillis, a Young Dem of Atlanta who won his race for Atlanta City Council District 9.
Full list of winners in the Metro Region from the December 5th, 2017 runoffs (party affiliation only noted for partisan races):
Mark your calendar:
12 days from today, DeKalb Young Democrats will have a social hour in East Atlanta at Tomatillos. I just spoke to the owner-- former State Rep. Margaret Kaiser --about it. Tomatillos is ideal cause its good spot for anybody who wants to eat or have a beer...or margarita. Its also a family friendly establishment so our High School Members can show up.
East Atlanta Village is one of the most popular places in DeKalb County for young people to hang out at. I've been wanting to do something here all year.
Event: DYD Social Hour
Date: December 13th
Time: 6 to 8 pm
- John Jackson