Wednesday, August 5, 2009

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!