State of SVYD 2013, by President Joshua Barousse
It is so refreshing to serve for a Party whose mission supports progressive ideals such as accessible healthcare, comprehensive immigration reform, and equal rights for all. The Silicon Valley Young Democrats has the unique opportunity to support numerous young professionals, recent college graduates, and young high school and college students who share that vision, enthusiastically ready to serve the community, and potentially dedicate a career to the field of government and politics.
Our Executive Board has been working tirelessly, and I am proud of what our membership has accomplished over the last year. Last August, thanks to the leadership of SVYD Treasurer, Colleen Haley, we hosted our First Annual Summer Fundraiser, which gave us the capacity to make valuable monetary contributions to SVYD-endorsed candidates and initiatives. Last summer we also established a unique partnership with the OFA San Jose Office and the Santa Clara County Democratic Party to engage in a voter outreach program at the San Jose Pride Festival. Last September, thanks to the leadership of SVYD Political Director, Eric Hernandez, we conducted our SVYD endorsement process, and announced our support for candidates and initiatives that share our common Democratic values and ideals. Last December, we hosted our 4th annual SVYD Holiday Party and Toy Drive, contributing over 65 toys to deserving families of the Santa Maria Urban Ministry, a local agency that provides services to the Washington community in San Jose. We also raised funds to help offset the costs for our members to attend the CA Democratic Party Convention this April in Sacramento. And last month, over 35 Young Democrats in Santa Clara County ran in local Assembly District caucus elections to serve as delegates to the State Party convention, the vast majority successful in their efforts.
Countless members served as Campaign Managers and staff for Congressional, State Legislative, City Council, and School Board races this past 2012 General Election season, and many were also recently elected and appointed to serve on local Boards and Commissions. This list includes Darcie Green, who was appointed to the Santa Clara County Board of Education, Andres Quintero, who was appointed to the Alum Rock Union School District Board, and Kalen Gallagher, who was elected to the Campbell Union High School District Board. SVYD Secretary, Victoria Ramirez was appointed to the County of Santa Clara’s Commission on the Status of Women, and Lucas Ramirez, appointed to the City of Mountain View’s Human Relations Commission. Cory Wolbach was recently elected as President of the Peninsula Young Democrats (PYD) and Jeremy Barousse, elected President of the District 8 Community Roundtable (D8 CRT). Victoria Ramirez, Lucas Ramirez, Laura Pederson, Richard Nguyen, and Alex Shoor were all selected to serve as fellows with the New Leaders Council- Silicon Valley Leadership Institute. Eric Hernandez and Jordan Eldridge recently appointed to the Board of Directors for the Santa Maria Urban Ministry.
I am extremely humbled to serve as SVYD President at this exciting period. Although we have indeed accomplished a lot thus far, we still have a lot of work to do. The SVYD Executive Board just launched our new SVYD website and blog space, and recently released a 2013 Issues Survey to identify important issues to further educate ourselves and advocate on behalf of. I am also proud to announce with the leadership of SVYD Vice President of Membership, Brandon Li, a new Women’s Membership Initiative, and a Women’s Leadership Committee, co-chaired by SVYD Secretary, Victoria Ramirez and Laura Pedersen. And of course, we all collectively will continue to reach out and recruit other young professionals and community leaders to join our membership, to foster the development of those who would to dedicate a career to the field of politics, to run for public office and serve on local boards and commissions.
Thank you for this most wonderful opportunity to lead this wonderful organization moving forward, and am anticipating an exciting year ahead. Fired up…ready to go!