Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Smith Democrats Remember Ted Kennedy

Senator Edward Kennedy passed away early this morning, having battled brain cancer for over a year. Senator Kennedy represented Massachusetts for 47 years, the third longest-serving senator in history. He championed countless issues, from equal pay, equal voting rights, and equal marriage rights to poverty, the environment, and education. And, of course, he worked tirelessly to guarantee health care for all Americans, which he called “the cause of my life.”

Senator Kennedy challenged sitting President Jimmy Carter for the Democratic nomination in 1980; when he left the race, he threw himself back into his Senate work, and compiled one of the most extensive and impressive legislative records in American government. Though known as part of a political dynasty, his devotion was to public service, and he was highly regarded for his ability to work, and get along with, all his colleagues. Despite his illness, Senator Kennedy was still working towards health care reform efforts, and his staff was reportedly deeply involved in Hill negotiations.

His niece, Caroline Kennedy, introduced him at the Democratic National Convention one year ago, remarking:

For 46 years, he has been so much more than just a senator for the people of Massachusetts. He's been a senator for all who believe in a dream that's never died. If you're no longer being denied a job because of your race, gender or disability, or if you've seen a rise in the minimum wage you're being paid, Teddy is your senator too.

If your children are receiving health care thanks to the Children's Health Insurance Program, if you see a nurse at a community health center or if you're benefiting from the Medicare program that he fought to create, and that just last month he returned to the Senate to save, Teddy is your senator too.

If your child is getting an early boost in life through Head Start, or attending a better school or can go to college because a Pell grant has made it more affordable, Teddy is your senator too. And if you're an 18-year-old who's going to vote for the first time - and I bet it'll be for Barack Obama - Teddy is your senator too.”
We thank Senator Kennedy for all his work, and for being our senator too.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Madam Associate Justice

A big Smith Dems congratulations to Sonia Sotomayor, confirmed today by the Senate to be the next associate justice of the Supreme Court! Nine Republicans joined the entire Democratic caucus to approve Sotomayor's nomination. Justice Sotomayor will join her colleagues for a busy next session of the Court, beginning in just over a month. President Obama heralded her confirmation this afternoon, saying, "with this historic vote, the Senate has affirmed that Judge Sotomayor has the intellect, the temperament, the history, the integrity and the independence of mind to ably serve on our nation’s highest court."

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Blogging the Last Day of CDA

Day 4:

Sunday was the last day of the Convention and we met in the morning for the Closing Ceremony and Awards Ceremony. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton spoke and she was great! Following her speech CDA played a hilarious clip from the Colbert Report with the Congresswoman. Check it out:

Heather Brown, the CDA Membership Director, then presented the awards for State Federation of the Year to Pennsylvania and Chapter of the Year to Catholic University, as well as many individual awards. Matt Zagaja, former CDM President, was honored with an MVP award and Pat Johnson, the current CDM President, was honored with a Rising Star Award. Go Massachusetts!

The CDA Convention was such an amazing experience! I learned so much and came away with great ideas for both the Smith Dems and the College Dems of MA, met a lot of people, had fun, and got really excited and motivated for the upcoming year. Definitely think about attending next year and feel free to contact me if you have any questions!

Dems love,

CDA, part three

Hey Smith Dems!

Saturday was the busiest and most exciting day of the CDA Convention because it contained both the convention’s keynote speaker as well as elections!

On Saturday morning we all gathered for breakfast followed by the Keynote Speech featuring DNC Chairman Governor Tim Kaine! We were on CSPAN, which was awesome! Governor Kaine spoke about the importance of being involved in our communities, and emphasized how important the gubernatorial races in Virginia and New Jersey in 2009 are to the Democratic Party (look out for lots of opportunities to get involved in both races this fall through the Dems!)

After the Governor spoke there was a panel on “Government at Work: A Discussion on the Work of Young Progressives in Government” which led into the Faith, Vets, and Disability Caucuses. I went to the Disability Caucus, which featured Kareem Dale, the White House Disability Liaison.

We then went back to the auditorium to listen to all of the candidates running for national office introduce themselves. For the contested races, candidates were allowed to ask each other one question and rebut their opponent’s answer. Then they opened it up and allowed members of the audience to ask questions.

At 3pm sharp General Assembly began, which was by far my favorite part of the Convention. It was such an inspiring experience because everyone was so engaged. It made me so proud and excited to be a College Dem! Since I was the only Smith Dem at CDA, I got to be a voting delegate (Each chapter represented at the Convention is only allowed one vote). Massachusetts was the 3rd largest delegation at Convention behind Pennsylvania and New York.

After a heated debate and vote on amendments for the CDA Constitution, we finally got to hear the nomination speeches for the candidates as well as the candidates' speeches. The races for Programs Director and Political Director were the only contested races this year, and both candidates that CDM endorsed (Aarti Sheth for Programs Director and Jen Johns for Political Director, both running for re-election) won! Katie Naranjo was re-elected President and Jamarr Brown was elected Vice President of CDA.

In the last ten minutes of General Assembly, Lee Drake, the new National Council Chair, announced that we had to vote on an issue that had been tabled for the past two years: whether or not CDA should hold conventions every year or every other year. The DNC wants CDA to alter our Constitution and only host conventions on election years beginning in 2010 because of the huge cost of the conventions. Instead, the DNC says that they will use that money to provide more field support on the national, state, and local levels such as buses for campaign trips, etc. However, no one knew about the proposed change until we were being forced to vote on it with only ten minutes to go. Concerns about what would happen to the caucuses because they only get to meet at convention once a year, whether or not the terms for CDA E-board members would now be two years or not, as well as many other questions led almost every state represented at CDA to vote against holding convention every two years.

After General Assembly, I went out to dinner with the fabulous Beth Jacobson, while most of CDA went to a Nationals Game. The game was rained out, so I’m really glad I didn’t go!