A New National Youth Strategy For The Democratic Party and Progressive Movement sign now

I endorse the plan below, and recommend to the Democratic National Committee that they carry out the recommendations laid out in this national youth strategy for the Democratic Party and progressive movement. I also affirm my commitment to lobbying the DNC and progressive organizations to expand and reform their youth outreach efforts, to empower young Democrats and progressives, and to devote the necessary resources (above and beyond Republican outreach efforts) to secure the youth vote in the future.

A New National Youth Strategy for the Democratic Party and the Progressive Movement

The Current Landscape

Young Americans do care about their communities and want to create real social change, but they do not see politics as the way to create that change. Instead young people today are volunteering and participating in community service in record numbers, and their involvements in political campaigns are at record lows.

83 \% of college freshman in 2003 reported doing volunteer work /community service in high school.
Only 6 \% for a political candidate or organization.

The Youth Vote did indeed improve much from the 2000 to the 2004 elections, and the Democrats capitalized on it.

Participation among 18-24 year olds rose over 11 \% since 2000.
Youth chose Kerry 54\% to Bush 44\%. In 2000 youth went for Gore by only 1 point (47 to 46).

Statistics Source- www.Civicyouth.org

A 10 Step Plan

1. Put your money where your mouth is. Republicans do a remarkable job investing financially in their future. Their College Republicans machine has produced many of their major players today- Karl Rove, Jack Abramoff, Ralph Reed, Grover Norquist, Lee Atwater, and Morton Blackwell, founder of the Leadership Institute think tank.

2. Breed and Empower Young Talent. College Republican Presidents all over the country are immediately recruited to work on the Hill, in the White House, and for state parties. They devote resources to finding young talent and supporting their development, even build dorms for interns, while progressive interns almost always go unpaid.

3. Use Technology; Rethink Outreach and Recruitment. New social networking sites, instant messaging, and other tech advancements give us new and more reliable ways to find young people and activate them.

4. Connect Community Service and Political Involvement. College Dems or progressive groups can invite non political students groups to join us in small and frequent community service events. This will start a dialogue between the organizations, and if even one person shows up to the next Dems meeting, we have started to bridge the gap.

5. A National Effort to Train The Next Generation. So many young people have the motivation and want to take action but they lack the necessary skills and dont know where to start. We can give students the resources to run trainings on their own campuses, and provide scholarships to students to attend trainings of organizations like DFA or Wellstone Action.

6. Treat Young People With Respect; Dont Pander. Howard Dean found an incredible amount of youth support in the 2004 election by talking straight to young people. It was about going to a college and giving relatively the same speech he gave everywhere else. It was about showing up to the Rock the Vote event in a suit and tie, not dressing down because he though young people would think he looks cool. Its not boxers or briefs that matters to young people, its the war and the economy.

7. Include Youth in Legislative and Political Agenda. Issues like college tuition, jobs, internet access, gun control, and sexual education should be legislative priorities for Democrats.

8. Push for Electoral Reform That Encourages Youth Participation. Election day voter registration, vote by mail, unrestricted absentee voting, mailing of voting information, and extended polling hours all significantly increase youth turnout.

9. Create a National Social Network. Democracy for Americas DFA LINK (www.dfalink.com provides a perfect way to form relationships among youth activists across America and develop social capital.

10. Find Them Where They Are and Speak Their Language. Through music, movies, and other popular media we can find young people where they are, and make it easy for them to get involved.

Specific Recommendations

1. The DNC should hire a Director of Young Leadership Development to find and assist the development of young stars in the Democratic Party. This person would essentially be a scout, discovering young leaders and supporting their development. The Director would keep track of exceptional College and Young Democrat leaders as well as grassroots stars in other organizations and assist them in securing a job in Democratic politics upon graduation. They should also use the resources of the DNC to encourage and support young people running for office.

2. Democratic leaders (Senate leader, House Leader, DNC Chair) should meet directly with leaders of progressive youth organizations quarterly to solicit opinion on legislative issues, the Party agenda, and coordinate efforts to maximize youth participation in the Party. Staff members should attend and be assigned to specific follow up actions.

3. The DNC should endorse the ideas of Election Day Voter Registration and Vote by Mail and work for their approval on the state and federal level.

4. I ask you for a personal commitment of resources, time, or money, to help in training the next generation of progressive leaders and to help develop a national database of local political contacts willing to train young people at schools around America free of charge.

Check out www.scottforamerica.com for more!

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Barbra OchoaBy:
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