2014 in Review

LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT:

While 2014 may have been a rough year for Democrats in Ohio, and we are certainly sad to see four more years of Governor Kasich, 2014 was a year of growth and organizing for the FCYDems.

Campaigning Like Champs
Let’s start with what you probably already know: two of the three Young Dems on the ballot in our county were victorious! Rep. Stinziano will continue to represent us at the statehouse and later this year, Chris Brown will take his seat on the bench in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas. In addition, seven other FCYDems endorsed candidates were victorious.

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In 2014, the FCYDems knocked on more than 15,000 doors for Democratic candidates. We knocked doors in the Short North for State Representative Michael Stinziano (a FCYDems member). We knocked doors in Gahanna for Mike Johnston, a FCYDems member running for state rep and in Whitehall for FCYDems Supporter and State Representative Heather Bishoff. At each of these canvasses, we also talked to voters about the Franklin County Democratic Party (FCDP) judicial slate and about Mike Schadek, our Democratic candidate for Franklin County Auditor. We also phone banked for countless hours, distributed Democratic sample ballots at the Franklin County Board of Elections and braved the cold to talk with voters during November’s Short North Gallery Hop.

We also traveled to Cincinnati to canvass for Micah Kamrass, a young Democrat who ran in a close race for state representative, and to Akron, Toledo and Elyria to canvass for other young Dems running for office. We also had members who canvassed for one of our state senate candidates in Dayton.

That’s not all! We hosted a fundraiser for Chris Brown’s campaign, where we raised almost $1,000 for his final stretch of the campaign. In addition, for the first time ever (thanks to our board’s fundraising efforts), the FCYDems contributed toward the party’s efforts to distribute Democratic sample ballots to voters across Franklin County. Our $500 contribution helped the county ensure that young Democrats got a reminder in the mail about all of our candidates and their voting options.

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Earlier in the year, before the May primary, we partnered with our fellow Franklin County progressive organizations to host at “Meet the Candidates” mixer at the IBEW. FCYDems members pushed for a more open networking format rather than a more traditional format where everyone sits and each of the candidates gets to give their stump speech. While we received some push back prior to the event, once it started, the format was a hit! All the attendees got to speak with the candidates they were less familiar with and get to talk to the candidates about the issues that were important. Since this event was such a success, I’ve already spoken with the presidents of the Stonewall Dems of Central Ohio and the Franklin County Democratic Women’s Club about doing this event again this coming spring!

Giving Back to the Community

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Outside of all our campaign efforts we accomplished a lot. We hosted our Second Annual FCYDems vs. Cap City Young Republicans Sand Volleyball Tournament. This tournament, (which we hope to move from late summer to spring this year) raised over $1,100 for Operation Buckeye. Operation Buckeye sends care packages to our troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Fun fact: as of 12/31/14, Operation Buckeye has shipped over 30,000 care boxes!

Raising our Profile
We grew our dues paying membership to new records as well. We currently have 140 dues paying members and countless others who contribute to our organization even though they can only be counted as “young at heart” members. We will continue to focus on growing our membership in 2015. I know membership committee co-chairs Michaela Hahn-Burris and Michael Salvadore have a lot planned.

In addition, we worked with Young Dems from across the state to bid for Columbus to serve as the host city for the 2015 Young Democrats of America Convention. While we made the final two, we did not secure the convention. However, through the process, we successfully put the FCYDems and the Ohio Young Dems on the map as some of the strongest YD orgs in the nation.

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We also helped the Ohio Democratic Party and the Columbus 2016 folks with their bid to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention (DNC). Dozens of our members took time of work in the middle of the morning to attend the #BringIt Rally during the DNC’s technical visit; I attended a meeting where I was able to talk with the DNC’s CEO about all of the great young progressives we have in our city and all of the work that the FCYDems do on behalf of candidates; we took some social action and shared our support by posing for some awesome photos with the #BringIt bubble at our holiday party. We’ll find out the results of those efforts soon (fingers crossed).

Finally, I’ve got to mention that our VP for the first half of 2014, Shannon Hardin, was recently appointed to a vacancy on the Columbus City Council. I’m so proud of Shannon and the great work he has done and will continue to do for the residents of Columbus.

What’s to Come
While we’ve done a lot, we can’t slow down! There’s still far too much work to be done.

In 2015, we have municipal races for cities and school boards large and small across our county. We will be working with FCDP to identify and recruit young progressive candidates to run for open seats and of course, we’ll be working to support our YD elected officials like Columbus City Council Members Hardin and Klein. In addition, we’re going to look for additional ways to help our members network with one another and with other young professionals outside of the FCYDems.

2015 is going to be a great year and I’m glad you’re all a part of it.

Jen House
President
Franklin County Young Democrats

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