Young Democrats discuss plans

By Bill Schwingel

A room full of NIU students listened to past, present and future goals of the Young Democrats of DeKalb discussed at Wednesday’s informational meeting.

“I’m scared. I’m very afraid of some people, things and ideas,” said Tom Elkins, Young Democrats chairman. Elkins told of a congressman who displays a confederate flag on his desk, symbolizing the Confederacy’s support of slavery.

“I’m scared that there are a lot of people who don’t know what a confederate flag is,” said Brad Strauss, chairperson of the group’s voter registration committee. There is a disease on this campus called “apathy,” Strauss said.

The Young Democrats’ goals include organizing a voter base for the 1990 Illinois senate elections, recruitment, fundraising, and a monthly newsletter, he said.

The 1990 elections are important for the democrats, as the elections will create two new districts for the winning party and “redraw the map of political districts in Illinois,” Elkins said.

“The state of education hinges upon this election. The state of education is pitiful; we’ve got to change that. Democrats are dedicated to education,” he said.

Building a base takes “a lot of engineering, but when it comes together, it is beautiful,” Elkins said.

The Young Democrats would like to train their members to manage and organize political campaigns with the help of the Young Democrats of Illinois, he said.

If the Young Democrats organize, the College Republicans will be out-registered, out-educated and the democrats will find it easier to “get out the vote,” he said.

The organization has initiated five committees to reach their goals: public relations, voter registration, newsletter/editorial, computer and fundraiser/special projects.

The newsletter’s purpose is to educate the community by making known the issues covered by the Young Democrats in DeKalb, Illinois and the United States and publish a calendar of future events, said Kari Dahl, chairperson for the newsletter/editorial committee.

“I think highly of the organization and I would like to give as much time as I am able,” said SA President Huda Scheidelman, after she signed up to assist in voter registration.

Two and one-half years ago, the then-named College Democrats had disbanded and three people started a petition to create the Young Democrats group, Elkins said.

Since then, the Young Democrats have helped with the campaigns of those running for state’s attorney and DeKalb County clerk and have recorded the second largest voter registration campaign in Illinois, he said. The group also has participated in the campaigns of Chicago Mayor Richard Daley and Illinois Sen. Paul Simon, Elkins said.

The group also has promoted SA senators and aided Jamie Pennington in his campaign as 6th ward alderman, he said.