The Hillary Clinton campaign held a press conference Tuesday prior to Donald Trump’s campaign rally in Clive, Iowa. The four speakers, all under 25, should make every Iowa Democrat proud. Democrats frequently discuss the desperate need for building a deeper and broader bench of future candidates. They lament the fact that they don’t have enough candidates running for school boards, city councils or local offices. Those offices serve as the farm team for the Iowa House and Senate seats and Democrats find it difficult to find young people that want to run and serve. Electing Democrats at the most basic city and county levels will guarantee a full and vibrant pipeline filled with experienced and knowledgeable talent. Eventually they will be our governors, congressional representatives, senators and possibly a future president.
Speaker Tip O’Neil’s infamous statement “all politics is local” is as relevant today as ever. These young Democrats participating in the press conference yesterday are just the tonic that a party growing older needs to rejuvenate and reinvigorate. Ideally the party would love to clone several hundred of these inspiring young folks and sprinkle them across Iowa. It was extraordinary listening to these incredible young Democrats speak with authority and passion for Hillary Clinton while warning about the threat of Donald Trump.
Josh Hughes is just 19, a college student and was elected last year to the Interstate 35 School Board. Further, he was elected as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention this summer, one of the youngest in history.
Hughes said his generation is the most progressive in history. They won’t tolerate the bigotry of Donald Trump and predicted, “millennials cannot and will not stand with Donald Trump as a candidate … Trump’s ideas and policies stand in stark contrast to our generation and Hillary Clinton’s.”
Hughes focused on the burden of student debt and how Clinton’s plans will benefit Iowa families and reminded the audience that Iowa’s core values are based on showing decency and respect for one another. Fundamental to Iowans’ shared values, he pointed to Clinton’s ability to work together to get things done. Assuring the audience, he added that he “believes millennials will stand with Hillary because she stands with them.”
Monica Reyes, a 25 year old Dreamer (undocumented children brought to America) was born in Mexico and is co-founder of Dream Iowa. Keep in mind, that for Monica Reyes and the Latino community a Trump presidency could be devastating. Trump’s loose talk about mass deportation and rescinding the protections President Obama instituted could result in life or death consequences. The fact that she can’t vote but is working to gain the right to vote for others should inspire all of us.
“I’m not a rapist or criminal,” Reyes said, adding she won’t let Donald Trump define her with his disparaging comments. “What matters to me is how I define myself as an American … All my family asks for is protection, dignity and respect.”
She described a Hillary Clinton presidency as, “Instead of building walls she wants to build bridges of opportunity.” Pointing to several incidents of racism Reyes has experienced recently, she places the blame directly on Trump. Her overall message is that millennials will reject and stand up to Donald Trump by supporting Hillary Clinton.
Austin Wadle, a 20-year-old student at Grinnell is President of College and Young Democrats. Wadle is quickly becoming a rising star among college youth.
“I’m concerned with promoting candidates whose character and priorities are in line with young people who are future leaders in America,” they said.
Wadle spoke about their concern of a Trump presidency turning back the clock for the LGBTQ community. They highlighted the contrast between Clinton and Trump on LGBTQ rights. Wadle is certain a Trump presidency would threaten marriage equality and the progress that has been made on gay rights.
Jordan Sabine at 21 is already highly respected in local Iowa Democratic politics. She is a student at Drake and has already achieved quite an accomplishment by serving as campaign manager to another young Democrat, Nate Bolton.
“I’m speaking as a millennial and a woman,” Sabine said. “This election is about breaking barriers and giving every American a chance to succeed.”
Sabine focused on how women would benefit from a Clinton presidency.
“Most importantly she is committed to making it possible for girls that dream of being president, because like them, someone was already able to do so,” she said.
Concluding, Sabine predicted a Trump presidency would roll back women’s rights and “it is unacceptable.”
by Rick Smith