2019 CYD Election

National Committee Person Candidates

Damian Gonzales

Colorado Young Democrats,

I am writing to you today to declare my candidacy for the open National Committee Person seat on the CYD executive board. I have dedicated the last four years of my life to help build a progressive movement in the US. From New York City to Los Angeles and dozens of cities in between I have marched, taught, and organized to build political “People power”. And now I am asking you to use your power as a member of CYD to elect me to serve you on the National Committee.

Four years ago my political journey began when I became a volunteer for the Bernie Sanders 2016 campaign, shortly after it launched in 2015. Since then I have served in various positions locally, at the state level, and nationally. In 2016 I was appointed and served for two years as an advisor to the Adams County Commissioners on Poverty and the Community Services Block Grant. I have served as a National Committee Person for the Green Party in 2017, as Chair of the Green Party’s Youth Caucus 17-18. And I spent the spring of 2018 managing a small education focused multi-party endorsed US Senate Campaign in California.

As your representative to the YDA National Committee, I promise that I will struggle day after day to ensure that people from traditionally oppressed communities, (Poor, Women, People of Color, LGBT, etc) are CENTERED. I will ensure we are not spoken for but instead, we have our allies amplifying our voices. So that WE all can have our voices heard and our actions empowered.

In Solidarity,

Damian Gonzales (he, him, his)

Community Organizer – Intersectional Socialist

 

 

Samuel Jarris

Dear Colorado Young Democrats State Central Committee,

My name is Samuel Jarris and I am hereby submitting my letter of intent to run for the seat to represent Colorado Young Democrats as one of our National Committee people and Information Technology Director. I am seeking this role because I believe that my unique ability to advocate across a wide range of issues as a member of two social minorities, has fostered an original way for me to find my path in this world and a unsated desire to bring in better inclusivity on a wide variety of issues.

As someone with Autism Spectrum Disorder (a social disability), I am not the most adept at recognizing other’s emotions. This has made life challenging in a plethora of ways, and yet I mean to break barriers by standing ground for a class of people with neurological differences who are underserved. I intend to take a stand, here and now, to validate those who are dismissed because of how their brain operates, and how they are marginalized by society. I will be using my talents as a gifted orator, advocator, networker and researcher to bring forth support to change that allows people to be their authentic selves within our state and nationally.

As a member of the Colorado Statewide Independent Living Council, Cross-Disability Coalition’s One Strong Voice, Autism Speaks Ambassadorial Program, Democratic Education Initiative, Dems with Disabilities, Stonewall Democrats and several other organizations, my intentions are to take forth the best policies and ideas that Colorado has and bring them into the lime light. Colorado has a unique ability to be the pilot for a lot of new activities (like the legalization of Marijuana, Popular Vote Compact, et al). This hunger for novel policies to address long-standing issues has been central to my interest to change higher education to be more equitable, create more independent living opportunities and refocus on employee-centric work, not cash-incentives for businesses.

As a network engineer, I am a very linear problem-solver. I want to help others, and I have the eye for detail and the ability to self-start. This can be incredibly useful when there are a variety of roadblocks interfering with implementation. I attack a problem critically from many directions in order to find viable solutions. In Information Technology, this is a must. Colorado Young Democrats and our chapter organizations can have a streamlined and enviable infrastructure when we identify our largest tenants, and build with that in mind.

Democrats are in a difficult situation. With the Presidential election on the horizon and so many candidates announced, or soon-to-be, vying for our votes, having the right team in place to lead us into the 2020 election, especially when Colorado Young Democrats have the largest unreserved voting bloc in this state, is an ethical imperative. We must do our best to organized now, grow our base and coordinate ahead of November next year. I am excited to make that presence known as both our conduit to national and from our Young Democrats to our state and local organizations.

Thank you for your time,

Samuel J. Jarris

 

 

Braeden Miguel

Hello Members of Young Democrats of Colorado.

My name is Braeden Miguel and I am running for National Committee Person and for a board seat if someone else is chosen as National Committee Person. I believe my skills in communication, systems thinking, group organizing/operating, creative problem solving, human- centered design, and networking will allow me to bring both our ideas and values to the National stage as well as learn from the many people there to bring back their best ideas and practices to our state.

To give you a little more information about myself I studied environmental studies and business at CU Boulder from 2010-2015. During my education I learned about the many problems that us as a planet and society face – and knew that I was on the right track with my degree choice.

While some others got discouraged, I leaned on my optimism and creativity to move forward.

During college I volunteered and got involved with a number of groups but one of my most transformative experiences was learning human centered design – which I applied to creating an education startup out of college with two of my best friends. Last year though I stepped down from my founder role in that and made it my goal to try to help work within politics to solve the major issues that face us today before things might begin to spiral out of control for these current and future generations. I bring my skills and backgrounds from my education and startup background to my new political and policy goals and the fight for a more justworld.

Thank you for considering me for this role. If I am elected as NCP or a board member at large I want to work with the board in my fullest capacity to put on fun and educational events, get out the young vote, find and lift up new and possible young candidates, and make a difference with you all!

Thank you for your time and consideration, Braeden Miguel

 

 

 

At-Large Board Member 2 Year Term Candidates

Braeden Miguel

Hello Members of Young Democrats of Colorado.

My name is Braeden Miguel and I am running for National Committee Person and for a board seat if someone else is chosen as National Committee Person. I believe my skills in communication, systems thinking, group organizing/operating, creative problem solving, human- centered design, and networking will allow me to bring both our ideas and values to the National stage as well as learn from the many people there to bring back their best ideas and practices to our state.

To give you a little more information about myself I studied environmental studies and business at CU Boulder from 2010-2015. During my education I learned about the many problems that us as a planet and society face – and knew that I was on the right track with my degree choice.

While some others got discouraged, I leaned on my optimism and creativity to move forward.

During college I volunteered and got involved with a number of groups but one of my most transformative experiences was learning human centered design – which I applied to creating an education startup out of college with two of my best friends. Last year though I stepped down from my founder role in that and made it my goal to try to help work within politics to solve the major issues that face us today before things might begin to spiral out of control for these current and future generations. I bring my skills and backgrounds from my education and startup background to my new political and policy goals and the fight for a more justworld.

Thank you for considering me for this role. If I am elected as NCP or a board member at large I want to work with the board in my fullest capacity to put on fun and educational events, get out the young vote, find and lift up new and possible young candidates, and make a difference with you all!

Thank you for your time and consideration, Braeden Miguel

 

Dan Morgan-Russell

Dear Board President Donahue and CYD Membership,

I am writing to say I intend to stand for election to the Colorado Young Democrats board. Frankly, since I filled in the remainder of a term already in progress and have never stood election myself, I’m not sure if it is more proper to say I am seeking election or re-election to the board. Regardless, I’d like to serve a full term on the board.

After lengthy discussions with President Donahue about the state of CYD’s fundraising, I am confident that she and I have begun to come up with plans to increase the revenue of this organization. The post-Obama Dinner fundraiser was a great success, and we can build on that model to create other successful revenue-generating events to benefit our organization. I want to present those ideas to the board and spearhead those efforts.

I also want to continue to expand CYD’s political clout, both within the Colorado Democratic Party and throughout the state in general. As a nation, we find ourselves at a moment when more young people are becoming politically aware and active, and we should capitalize on our setup to help advance our members interests and candidacies.

On a personal note, I recently became a full member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 68, and the access to candidates and political organizations I have through my union membership will benefit CYD. Our union, like the CYD, seeks to bring new members to the table and expand our reach. In many ways, our goals and methods will align. Having my foot in both worlds will help everyone.

I’m looking forward to continuing to serve on the board, Dan Morgan-Russell

 

 

Jai Rajagopal,

Dear Colorado Young Democrats,

My name is Jai Rajagopal and I declare my intent to run for the Colorado Young Democrats Board. I have worked with Democratic campaigns since before I was eligible to vote. Over the last two election cycles I have worked on behalf of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, Joe Neguse’s congressional campaign, and Matt Gray’s state legislative campaign. I currently serve as a Legislative Aide at the State Capitol to Representative Tom Sullivan. I also sit on the Boulder County Democratic Party’s Executive Committee and am involved with the Boulder County Young Democrats.

The launch pad for my work in politics was interning for New Era Colorado; they have provided me with an education, connections, and opportunities that I would have otherwise been unable to navigate. This is why I find the work of the Colorado Young Democrats so important: there must be a structure in place to foster young people with an interest in Democratic politics and direct them about how to be involved at an age where we don’t have the community ties of older Democrats.

The Boulder County Young Dems are a dynamic and creative group, but we are few in number and that sharply inhibits our ability to be effective. I believe it’s important to grow our organization and create a pipeline so that young liberals and progressives can find ways to be engaged in Democratic politics throughout their lives. Finding ways to build and have successfully engage within our communities is the foundation of an effective organization.

I want to be a part of this so there is a way for people like us to be integrated into the party and for our needs to be turned into policy. It will be challenging, but to be given the opportunity to take up that challenge would be my honor.

Thank you for your consideration, Jai Rajagopal

 

 

 Karl Taylor

Over the past few years, we’ve accomplished some amazing things as a party. We’ve held on to the Governor’s mansion, and we’ve changed the balance of power in our state house. We’ve seen unprecedented numbers of brave candidates take the courageous first step of running for office at every level of our government.

But when it comes to breaking down the barriers that keep so many interested Coloradans from engaging with “the process,” we could be doing so much more.

As a member of the CYD board, I’ve had a front row seat to the places where we’ve gotten it wrong and the places where we’ve had an impact. The truth is, we still have a lot of work to do if we’re going to live up to our goal of making the Democratic Party of Colorado a more inviting place for the young people who actually live in this state.

It is one thing to talk about change, and an entirely different thing altogether to act. The status quo is powerful, and it isn’t interrupted by silence. Our party needs voices who can help to reshape the conversations we’re having, because too often those conversations stop just short of meaningful progress.

We still have conversations in this party about questions that the people who vote for the candidates we support settled a long time ago. The time we waste having high-brow banter on topics like which body of government should regulate fracking is time we take at the expense of the lives of very people who rely on us to speak up for them.

Those sorts of conversations distract from the real issue. They keep us from making progress.

It’s the job of CYD to help make this opaque party politics process a little more transparent. I like to think that’s because if we can do that, the people we bring into the party can help us to change the conversation.

I think that it’s our job to help bring as many 16-36 year old left leaning voices into the conversation as we can.

Over the past few years I’ve worked with CYD, I’ve watched as we’ve done that by planning events, creating, and distributing content, and helping to connect individuals with the framework that exists today for amplifying the causes we all care about. That has meant helping to plan promotions, rebuild our email infrastructure, and redesign our website.

We have so much more to do, and the truth is, it’s work we can’t do alone. We need to connect with people where they are. We need to do a better job of multiplying and amplifying the voices of the people who need to be heard.

I’m running for the CYD board because I’m ready to help do my part to make that happen, but the changes our state and our party need will ask something of all of us. I want to help continue the work of making CYD more accessible, and I need your help to do it.

Thank you for consideration,

-Karl

 

 

Morgan Watters

Dear Colorado Young Democrats:

It has been an honor to be able to serve on your board for the last two years. Together, we have been able to support a blue wave in 2018 and increase the inclusion, representation, and mobilization of young people in our party.

2020 is coming quickly, and Young Democrats specifically need to be prepared to take an active role in making our blue wave continue in a larger, more progressive way across the state. We have many young Democrats already declared as candidates, and many key seats that we can flip if we plan and organize properly.

I want to be your partner in the fight for young, progressive representation in Colorado. We had incredible wins in 2018, electing young Democrats like Julie Gonzales, Rochelle Galindo, and Kerry Tipper to key seats in our legislature. And we have much more work ahead of us. As a seasoned organizer who has run campaigns on the local, state, and national level, I want to use my skills to do smart, strategic work to elect Democrats up and down the ballot.

My professional career has mainly been spent in electoral politics. I know first-hand how young progressives care about the direction of our city, state, and country. They are passionate and committed to help shape our political future. We can all truly make the difference between winning and losing for progressive candidates and ballot initiatives statewide. Since I moved to Colorado, I have contacted countless voters and trained hundreds of volunteers to be change-makers within the Democratic Party and in their communities. As a board member, I will continue these efforts within CYD. Our organization has the ability to recruit, foster, and train Democratic activists to strengthen our party and do the work to ensure Democrats win key races to affect real change.

With the election of Donald Trump as our President, the voices and skills of young people within the Party are more vital than ever for our political future. Young progressives flooded the Women’s March, the demonstrations at DIA against Trump’s Muslim ban, and the multiple rallies at the Capitol standing to protect progressive gains from the last 8 years of Democratic leadership. As the future leaders of our city, state, and nation, we have incredible political power in standing up to Trump and the GOP. Our organization needs leadership that understands how these political fights are won and who are committed to standing alongside our members and allies in these fights.

As a CYD board member, I will help to create and support opportunities for our members to stand up to conservative politicians and fight back against regressive change that directly conflicts with our progressive ideals of fairness, equity, and hope for a better future for all. First, I propose to partner with organizations to develop young leaders to influence the political process and eventually run for office. Second, I would like to create and build relationships with progressive organizations across the state. I am fortunate to have worked with the progressive coalition that raised the minimum wage in Colorado, worked with labor unions, and progressive partners across the state, and I believe I am in a unique position to continue to foster those relationships and build new ones in the future. Third, I want to continue to build a diverse and inclusive membership of CYD. I am encouraged by the involvement of folks, not only in this process, but in the acts of resistance against President Trump, Congress, Kavanaugh, and other bad actors. We need to continue the fight and join together to be a powerful political force in the future.

This is only the starting point for the movement that we should build together. Colorado Young Democrats cannot do this alone, and I am open to creating an organization that empowers all young voices. I have been honored to be a part of this board in the past and hope to continue this effort to build a stronger party and stand up to the bigotry and divisiveness of our Federal government.

Thank you for your consideration, and I hope to earn your vote to continue as a board member of this organization.

Morgan Watters

 

 

 

At-Large Board Member 1 Year Term Candidates

Judd Larson

My Fellow Colorado Young Democrats,

I, Judd Larson, am writing at a time of a divided house to express my intent to run for the CYD Board and share my qualifications. The house, however divided it may be today, has been sown with seeds of a bright future that rest ready to change the landscape of tomorrow.

As a fourth generation native, my ties to Colorado run deep. I received my B.A. summa cum laude from CU in political science and studied international affairs at Stanford. I have always possessed a desire to serve as an advocate and voice for others, and I received my law degree cum laude in 2013. After studying international law and receiving my Masters degree from the University of Cambridge, I returned to Colorado and contracted with the U.S. Attorney’s Office litigating residential mortgage backed-securities cases in the fall-out of the Great Recession. At the close of the Obama administration, I moved into private practice with a national law firm where I currently work in community development through complex financing where we structure funds in order to develop, for example, solar farms, libraries, nonprofit organizations, hospitals, advanced manufacturing facilities, schools, and housing – all in low income communities across Colorado and the United States.

In 2016, I was the youngest member in history to be elected to the Greenwood Village Arts and Humanities Council. During my term, I was elected President of the Council, expanded a college scholarship program, created large community events and formed partnerships with museums and donors to cultivate the development of public art in the area. I have served as a “Big Brother” with Big Brother Big Sisters to mentor underserved children. I have worked with vulnerable members of society by ushering non-violent drug offenders through the judicial system and into rehab instead of jail. I take great pride in having delivered speeches and published articles in the areas of constitutional law, radical right political parties and international law.

On a daily basis, I advise state congresspersons on economic and social issues, have been an influential campaign strategist for local city council elections and regularly meet with Colorado state judges to discuss current developments in constitutional law and geo-political affairs.

How do I plan to work with the Board and CYDs in CO to change the landscape? Presence, technology and infrastructure. The seeds are here. The 18-35 year old demographic is a large voting bloc with many independent, unaffiliated, and dissatisfied Republican voters ripe to bring into an organized infrastructure. Size, however, is only translated into strength and influence at the ballot box. As such, I look forward to expanding chapter participation through organic growth by bringing young voters into a modern infrastructure by encouraging and facilitating electoral and issue participation (even in non-presidential elections). A Facebook post, Tweet or Instagram story is not enough. We must fight through electoral complacency and media exhaustion to ensure our generation’s energetic optimism and unique stories are felt and heard. Then, together, we will change the landscape.

Thank you for your consideration as we work together to change the landscape of our great state and nation.

I humbly and thankfully ask for your vote! Please feel free to email me at Judd.W.Larson@gmail.com with any questions or even just to chat.

Sincerely,

Judd Larson