In the latest monthly electronic newsletter, YD President Ed Rotchford writes the following:
Hello, and thank you for being a part of the Young Democrats of McHenry County (YDMC)! In our brief six months of existence, our member/supporter list now numbers over 110 people. And we’re just getting started.It was in May of this year that a few of us in the area decided that we needed to have some younger Democratic representation in McHenry County, and with the help of Young Democrats of Illinois (YDI) President Kori Crooke-Rempfer, The YDMC became an official charter member of YDI and of the Young Democrats of America (YDA).
In the six months since that time, we have accomplished a lot. We wrote and ratified our Constitution, we have had LTE’s (Letters to the Editor) published in the Northwest Herald, we have hosted candidates for Lieutenant Governor and Treasurer, and we elected our first ever Executive Board.
After being elected President of the YDMC, I stated that my number one goal was to build the foundation of the Democratic Party within McHenry County by raising the political awareness of young voters and increasing our membership.
Part of accomplishing these goals is recognizing the base of young voters in our county. McHenry County has traditionally been a stronghold for the Republican Party, and many of our parents and older siblings are Republicans. In the 2000 census, 30% of our population was under 18 years of age and 7% was between 18-24 years of age. This means that a significant amount of voters are within the typical Young Democrat age of 18-35. Take into account that McHenry County voted in 2008 for a Democratic Candidate for President for the first time on record, and you can see that the days of Republican dominance are no longer guaranteed.
However good that news may be, I also recognize the current political activeness of young voters in the county. After years of living in a Republican-dominated area, we all recognize that there are few outlets in McHenry County that promote progressive values, and fewer areas where we can talk about progressive values openly.
Young voters have been used to this climate for so long, that even at a time where we can call McHenry County “Blue”, it is more common to see people lining the streets with “Don’t Tread on Me” flags and signs that equate our President to Adolf Hitler than it is to see a few people protesting on the corner in favor of Health Care Reform.
That’s just how it is still – I get it.
So do I expect young voters to immediately start storming the streets to consistently protest for green energy jobs, more access to education, and social progressive values such as a woman’s right to choose and equal rights regardless of sexual orientation?
No, I don’t.
But I sure as heck do not think that these are values that we should be keeping to ourselves. We should not be afraid to state our opinions in front of our older friends and family who may scoff at our thoughts as proof that we have been corrupted by crazy liberals and socialist subliminal messages.
It’s time to fight back. It’s time to be heard. Most of all, it’s time to be respected.
So in my time as President of the YDMC, I will do what I can to encourage young voters who identify themselves as Democrats to speak their mind without being bashful. I will do my best to provide young voters with resources at our meetings and via our website (www.TheYDMC.com) and Facebook group so you can see that others around the county, around the state, and around the country hold the same opinions you do – and you can use these resources to get involved with us, encourage others in McHenry County to get involved, and educate yourselves on topics that back up your values – allowing you to defend yourself against those that think your opinions are misguided.
We will have meetings throughout the year, and these meeting times/places will be posted on our website. I highly encourage you to join us at all of our meetings – but if you don’t, I ask that you keep in touch with us by checking in often. We live in a world of social networking, I know, so please understand that your online presence means just as much to me as your physical presence.
I look forward to serving the YDMC as President, and if you have any questions, please email me at YDMCPresident@gmail.com