Pennsylvania Young Democrats State Convention

First off, there is a slight change of plans in that the internet connection in the conference room is $150 for the day so this will be a “not exactly live” blogging of the event coming to you from the bar of the Wyndam in Harrisburg, PA.

Morning Edition

For those of you who are not familiar with the Young Democrats of America please head over here and familiarize yourself. The Pennsylvania Young Democrats is a subset of the national organization and is made up of chapters from counties all over the state. I am a member of the Young Democrats of Allegheny County whose membership is now up to 300 + members, the largest chapter in the state. This affords us 34 delegates in today’s state elections. If I had to venture a guess I would say that, including the state committee people, non voting members, delegates and others there are roughly 500 in attendance here in Harrisburg.

The event opened this morning with a speech by Lieutenant Governor Catherine Baker Knoll. She spoke about an issue that I feel very strongly about, the importance of youth to the future of the Democratic Party structure. Which reminds me, if you are under 40 and do not belong to your local chapter of the Young Dems, get on the stick. There is no better way to inject yourself into Democratic party politics. You will meet and work with everyone from current elected officials to their campaign managers, policy makers and politicos.

The second session was held by political consultant and former Rendell campaign man Dan Fee. The topic of discussion was campaign communications and he spoke about a range of topics including; message development, message delivery, message resonance, developing campaign material and day to day campaign needs. Those of you who are bloggers will be interested to know that Dan seemed firmly opposed to the faux campaign blogs that have sprung up since the last election cycle (think JohnKerry.com). His take was that they are really echoes of your press materials and don’t add much to the campaign. I tend to agree. It is much more important for a campaign to develop internet ready materials on their websites that can be used by independent bloggers such as myself than to try and create the impression that they are bloggers themselves.

We are on a break now (noon) but will resume again at 1:00PM for the state wide elections. Hopefully I will be able to return to the bar afterward and provide an update on the results and add some pictures.

Afternoon Edition

From the celebrity watch file it is worth noting that both Bob Casey Jr. and Chuck Pennacchio paid visits to the event, Casey last night and Pennacchio this afternoon. In addition, Governor Ed Rendell, who could not join due to a prior commitment, called in and spoke to the group via conference call. Pretty cool.

This afternoon was dedicated to the election of new officers with the following positions on the slate; President, National Committeeman, National Committeewoman, Vice President, Treasurer, Recording Secretary and Corresponding Secretary. The only contested position out of this group though was that of President with the following three men running; Yarone Zober, Charles Duncan, and Will Anderson. The proceedings were opened with an impassioned speech by outgoing President Tony Campisi that I have been promised a copy of via email at a later time.


[Charles Duncan – Philadelphia]


[Yarone Zober – Pittsburgh]

Yarone and Charles both gave excellent speeches and for some reason Anderson chose not to speak. After the votes were cast and counted it was one of our own Allegheny county Young Dems, Yarone Zober, who was elected the new President of the Pennsylvania Young Democrats. Congratulations Yarone, now get to work!

Some other points that are worth mentioning are:

  • There were 95 voting delegates
  • In March, the PA Democratic Party voted unanimously to give the PA Young Dems a permanent seat on the State Committee
  • There are now 27 active chapters in the Commonwealth

In summary, this was an excellent experience that I am extremely grateful for having been a part. To paraphrase Tony Campisi, I am happy to report that the current state of the Pennsylvania Young Democrats is strong and the future looks even brighter. I urge all of you young Democrats out there to get involved with your local chapters. If there is not one then start one, the paperwork for chartering a chapter is up on the Young Dems website. You are the future of this party, get out there and make a difference.

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